Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): With the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) two-day National Executive meeting set to begin in the national capital on Monday, there is buzz about a major reshuffle in Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s cabinet as well as state BJP unit.
The decisions taken in the National Executive’s meet will give a go ahead signal for the party for the Assembly elections late this year.
Sources claimed one out of six incumbent Union Ministers from the state is likely to be sent back to Madhya Pradesh with an important role in view of the Assembly elections, while two state leaders are likely to be inducted in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet. The one too return to the state could be either Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of State for Food Processing Industries and Jal Shakti Prahlad Patel and Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.
‘Tomar backed by sangathan, Patel a OBC face’
Sources in the BJP said that Tomar is likely to be the first preference. Beside these three, one more name is doing the rounds here – that of former BJP Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.
According to sources, each of these four BJP leaders have been lobbying. “Tomar is backed by the ‘sangathan’, whereas Scindia and Patel are also runners-up. Patel has an edge against Scindia due to OBC face, which is going to be a crucial factor in the elections,” a high-placed source in BJP said.
“Factionalism is undoubtedly high within the MP BJP unit, and therefore, the Central leadership would come out with a final decision keeping all these factors in mind. After CM Chouhan, the only senior party leader who can get support from all factions is Tomar. But, what will he be offered? Chief Minister’s post of state president is unclear,” a senior BJP leader said, requesting not to be named.
Mishra could have replaced Chouhan
He also claimed that state Home Minister Narottam Mishra was the top runner for replacing Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan till a few months back, however, his vocal nature and conflict with Scindia loyalist minister Imarti Devi has upset the central BJP leadership.
“Kailash Vijayvargiya can also be in the race for state President, but as PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have always surprised with their decision, and till then, all is speculation only.”
The buzz of changing in leadership has been doing more because of the term of Madhya Pradesh BJP president V.D. Sharma would end in February, eight months before the next assembly elections due at the end of this year.
Fourth state cabinet expansion?
In Madhya Pradesh, if the state cabinet expansion takes place, it would be the fourth since in March 2020 after 15-months Kamal Nath led the Congress government was ousted from power due to defection of over 20 Congress MLAs to the BJP. At present, there are as many as 30 ministers in the cabinet, while three ministerial posts are still vacant. The last cabinet expansion was held in January 2021.
Meanwhile, the performance reports of more than half of the cabinet ministers is a worry for the MP BJP.