Regional (M.P & C.G)

CM expand his cabinet, four new ministers take oath

Bhopal: Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday inducted four new ministers to its cabinet.

Two Cabinet ministers, Vijay Shah and Antar Singh Arya are tribals while Ramdayal Ahirwar and Dashrath Lodhi belong to Scheduled Caste and OBC categories, respectively.Since only a couple of months is left for the Assembly elections, the State government was under immense pressure to induct Vijay Shah, who is a strong tribal leader in the party.

In what can be the last expansion of his Cabinet during his current tenure, Chouhan on Wednesday inducted two Cabinet and two State ministers in his team.Those inducted in the Cabinet rank are Vijay Shah and Antar Singh Arya, while Dashrath Lodhi, and Ramdayal Ahirwar have been made Minister of State.With the induction of the four, all vacancies have been filled. The portfolio of these ministers would be allotted soon. Sources said that Cabinet expansion was carried out only for purpose of inducting Vijay Shah. For the remaining three, it came as a surprise.

The oath taking ceremony took place at 7 pm at the Governor House, where Shah took pledge first and Arya, Lodhi and Ahirwar followed him. On the occasion, several eminent citizens, officials and followers of these leaders were present. With the induction of Shah, the party is confident of a gain in tribal seats under his influence. There had been talks that Shah might move to Samajwadi Party and his induction can be seen as a move to thwart his bid. Arya is MLA from Sendhwa and by inducting him in the Cabinet, the Chief Minister attempted to give a message that his party is pro-tribal.

Since the main opposition Congress has appointed tribal leader Kantilal Bhuria as State Congress president, the BJP was certainly facing problems. The induction of Dashrath Lodhi, who had won the by-election from Jabera in Damoh district, in the Cabinet is considered as an attempt to woo Lodhi votes in the region. Earlier, senior party leader Uma Bharti was considered as strong Lodhi leader and Dashrath was considered as a strong opponent to Bharti. Besides, Ahirwar is expected to woo the Scheduled Caste voters.


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