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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Thrust on OBCs, fewer Scindia men in Madhya Pradesh’s new council of ministers

TWELVE days after Mohan Yadav was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh along with two deputies, he got a ministry on Monday. Among the 25 inductees were senior leaders Prahlad Patel and Kailash Vijayvargiya.

The shortlisting followed multiple consultations with the central leadership, and the new ministry has 18 Cabinet members, including Patel, Vijayvargiya, Nirmala Bhuria, Narayan Singh Kushwaha, Nagar Singh Chouhan, Uday Pratap Singh, Lakhan Patel, Kuwar Vijay Shah, Rakesh Singh, Karan Singh Verma, Sampatiya Uikey and Pradyumna Singh Tomar; as well as six ministers of state (MoS) (Independent charge) and four MoS.

Of the 25 included as ministers Monday, as many as 11 are OBCs, apart from six SCs, four STs and remaining belonging to upper castes. CM Yadav is also an OBC.

Three are Scindia supporters – Tulsi Silavat, Govind Singh Rajput and Pradyuman Singh Tomar. Incidentally, in the previous Shivraj Singh Chouhan Cabinet, there were 10 Scindia loyalists.

Ten MLAs who were part of the Chouhan government and won the elections do not figure in the new ministry. There are five women ministers.

Madhya Pradesh can have a 35-member ministry, meaning there are seven more slots that could be filled later.

Of the seven MPs fielded by the BJP in the Assembly elections, Faggan Singh Kulaste and MP Ganesh Singh had lost. Of the five who won, four have been included as ministers, with only Reeti Pathak not making it.

Of the 33 ministers in the Chouhan Cabinet, 31 had contested the Assembly elections, of whom 19 had won. The nine who have been repeated from among them include CM Mohan Yadav and Deputy CMs Rajendra Shukla and Jagadish Devda.

Among the prominent names dropped, as the party continues its anti-incumbency efforts, were Gopal Bhargava and Bhupendra Singh, both of whom belong to the BJP stronghold of Bundelkhand.

Given the BJP’s focus on Malwa Nimar, the bellwether region with 66 seats to which CM Yadav also belongs, seven of the ministers belong to it. The central region, the stronghold of Chouhan, has six ministers. Four are from Mahakaushal region, while the

Gwalior-Chambal and Bundelkhand regions each have four ministers, while three are from Vindhya region.

The OBC thrust in the new ministry underlines the BJP strategy of buffering its base against the Opposition’s demand for a caste census. It will also dent the Congress assault against the BJP over sidelining of its former CM Chouhan, still the party’s tallest OBC leader in the state.

After the oath-taking ceremony for the new ministers, CM Yadav said: “It’s not about new and old faces. Those who work should be given an opportunity. I feel happy that under Modi, the new Cabinet will make new records.”

Speaking on the Cabinet composition, Vijayvargiya said: “This team has Test match players as well as T20 players, and so it is a very balanced team. There is a good opportunity for everyone to do their role.”

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