Kamal Nath expands Madhya Pradesh Cabinet; inducts 28 ministers

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BHOPAL:Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath expanded his council of ministers on Tuesday by inducting 28 MLAs, including two women legislators and an Independent.

Governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath of office to the new ministers at an event attended by Nath and senior Congress leaders.

All the ministers took oath in Hindi and they were accorded the Cabinet rank.

Those who were sworn in included Dr Govind Singh (MLA from Lahar), Arif Aqueel (Bhopal North), Bala Bachchan (Rajpur ST), Sajjan Singh Verma (Sonkutch), Vijay Laxmi Sadho (Maheshawr) and Hukum Singh Karada (Shajapur).

Aqueel is lone Muslim MLA in the Cabinet.

Govind Singh was a minister in the previous Congress government.

Besides, Tulsi Silawat (Sanver) and Prabhuram Chowdhary (Sanchi), both former parliamentary secretaries, were also administered oath.

Jaivardhan Singh, the MLA from Raghogarh and son of senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh, was also included into the Cabinet.

Kasrawad legislator Sachin Yadav, younger brother of former Pradesh Congress Committee chief and ex-Union minister Arun Yadav, was also sworn in.

Besides, Vijay Laxmi Sadho (Maheshawr) and Imarati Devi (Dabra) were the women MLAs included in the Cabinet.

Sadho was also a minister in the previous Digvijay Singh-led government.

Independent MLA Pradeep Jaiswal (Waraseoni), who contested as a Congress rebel, also took oath.

Others who got ministerial berths for the first time are: Brijendra Singh Rathore (Prithvipur), Lakhan Singh Yadav (Bhitarwar), Govind Rajput (Surkhi), Omkar Markam (Dindori), Sukhdeo Panse (Multai), Harsh Yadav (Deori), Kamleshwar Patel (Sihawal), Lakhan Ghanghoriya (Jabalpur East), Tarun Bhanot (Jabalpur West), PC Sharma (Bhopal South-West), Surendra Singh Baghel (Kukshi), Jitu Patwari (Rau), Umang Singhar (Gandhwani), Pradyumn Singh Tomar (Gwalior), Mahendra Singh Sisodiya (Bamori) and Priyavrat Singh (Khilchipur).

According to sources, the names of the ministers were finalised by state Congress leaders, including Nath, party’s campaign committee chairman Jyotiraditya Scindia and former chief minister Digvijay Singh, after discussions with party president Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders.

Kamal Nath, who had taken oath as the 18th chief minister of Madhya Pradesh on December 17, had gone to Delhi last week and returned along with Scindia on Tuesday afternoon after having discussions with the party leadership.

The Congress returned to power in the state after a hiatus of 15 years.

Though the Congress, with 114 seats, emerged as the single largest party in the 230-member Assembly, it failed to cross the halfway mark on its own and enlisted support of the BSP and the SP, which have won two seats and one, respectively.

Four Independent MLAs, who are Congress rebels, have also extended their support, taking the total number of MLAs on the Congress side to 121.

The BJP had won 109 seats.

The session of the newly elected Assembly is slated to begin from January 7