New Delhi: The new Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh on Tuesday inducted 28 and nine ministers respectively in their first cabinet expansion, seeking to strike a fine balance with representations from different castes and communities, while covering the key regions.
Governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath of office in both states. In MP, chief minister Kamal Nath inducted at least two former state ministers, including Govind Singh and Vijay Laxmi Sadho. Former chief minister Digvijay Singh’s son Jaivardhan Singh, and former state unit chief Arun Yadav’s younger brother Sachin Yadav were also sworn in.
More than a dozen MLAs among those who took oath on Tuesday are first-time ministers, which includes MP’s working president of Congress Jitu Patwari. Two women ministers figured in Nath’s cabinet, Sadho and Imarti Devi. Independent MLA Pradeep Jaiswal, who was a party rebel, was also sworn in. In Chhattisgarh, with the induction of nine ministers, the cabinet led by chief minister Bhupesh Baghel now has 12 members, including senior party leaders T.S. Singh Deo and Tamradhwaj Sahu. Former state ministers Mohammad Akbar and Ravindra Choubey have also been sworn in.
The imprint of the 2013 Jeeram Ghati attack, where the Congress lost almost its entire state leadership to a deadly Naxal attack, was also visible in the new cabinet. Kawasi Lakhma, the survivor of the attack was inducted on Tuesday along with Umesh Patel. whose father and former state unit chief Nandkumar Patel was killed in the attack.
Both Nath and Baghel, along with senior state functionaries, held separate meetings with party president Rahul Gandhi in the national capital over the weekend to discuss the cabinet expansions.
Meanwhile, a day after inducting new ministers, Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot on Tuesday hinted at another cabinet expansion to accommodate more leaders, considering rising instances of protests by supporters of a few MLAs who are not part of the 25-member council of ministers.
PTI contributed to this story.