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MP CM Chouhan's cabinet undergoes expansion 3 mths before assembly polls

The new ministers include bigshots from Mahakaushal and Vindhya, Gaurishankar Bisen and Rajendra Shukla, apart from Rahul Lodhi from Bundelkhand

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Madhya pradesh election, cabinet reshuffle

CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Sandeep Kumar Bhopal

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About three months before the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, the cabinet of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was expanded on Saturday. Three new ministers were included in the cabinet, and were administered oath of office by Governor Mangu Bhai Patel at Raj Bhavan. The new ministers include bigshots from Mahakaushal and Vindhya, Gaurishankar Bisen and Rajendra Shukla, apart from Rahul Lodhi from Bundelkhand.

Gaurishankar Bisen and Rajendra Shukla are counted among the biggest leaders of their respective regions. While credit for BJP's excellent performance in the Vindhya region in the 2018 Assembly Elections is given to Rajendra Shukla, he was not included in the government, due to various reasons.

Taking a jibe at the expansion of the cabinet, former Chief Minister and State Congress Committee chief Kamal Nath said, "This is not a mantri mandal (cabinet), it is an expansion of bhrashtachar ki mitra mandali (corrupt grouping)." He tweeted, "When the term is coming to an end and the government is about to fall, the cabinet is being expanded in Madhya Pradesh. Now even if the entire cabinet is changed, defeat is certain."

Political analyst Saji Thomas calls this cabinet expansion a compulsion of caste balance. Thomas says, “Not a single MLA from the Lodhi community was made minister in the cabinet." Uma Bharti has also been continuously putting Shivraj Singh's government in the dock regarding prohibition. She has openly said many times that there is no caste balance in this cabinet.

According to Thomas, despite the party's stellar performance in Vindhya in the 2018 elections, Rajendra Shukla was not made a minister because equations did not fit right. This time the internal survey report of the party is talking about anti-incumbency, so Shukla has been made a minister to help the Brahmin and upper caste voters of Vindhya region. Bisen, on the other hand, is considered the big OBC face of the party.

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First Published: Aug 26 2023 | 11:48 AM IST

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