Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday expanded his cabinet by inducting three BJP MLAs as ministers just months ahead of the state assembly polls to be held by the end of the year.
With this, there are now 34 members in the Chouhan-led cabinet.
State Governor Mangubhai Patel administered the oath of office as ministers to three legislators at the Raj Bhavan here around 9 am.
Former minister Rajendra Shukla, a Brahmin leader and four-time MLA from Rewa in the Vindh region, Gaurishankar Bisen, a seven-time legislator from Balaghat in the Mahakoshal region who is also the chairman of the MP Backward Class Commission and first-time MLA from Khargapur in Tikamgarh district of Bundelkhand region Rahul Lodhi took oath as ministers.
While Shukla and Bisen took oath as cabinet ministers, Lodhi was sworn-in as minister of state. They are yet to be allotted portfolios, a Raj Bhavan official told PTI.
Lodhi is a nephew of senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Uma Bharti.
Bisen (71) and Lodhi (46) belong to the Other Backward Class (OBC) community, which makes up more than 45 per cent of the population of Madhya Pradesh.
The inclusion of Shukla takes the number of ministers from the state’s Vindh region to four, while Bisen’s induction takes this count in Mahakoshal region to two. The induction of Lodhi takes the number of ministers from impoverished Bundelkhand region to five.
The names of former MP Minister Jalam Singh, younger brother of Union Minister Prahlad Patel and Lalsingh Arya, who is president of the BJP SC Morcha, also did the rounds but they could not make it to the cabinet.
Through the cabinet expansion, the ruling BJP has sought to balance the caste and regional equation in the state, where assembly elections will be held in less than three months.
The last assembly polls in the state were held on November 28, 2018.
Chouhan became CM in March 2020 after a revolt by MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia brought down the Congress government led by Kamal Nath, which had come to power in December 2018 after the assembly polls.