Shivraj Singh Chouhan inducts 23 ministers
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A week after he was sworn-in, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan formed his Cabinet Saturday by inducting 19 Cabinet ministers and four ministers of state. As many as 10 ministers in the previous BJP government had lost the Assembly elections and four did not contest either because they were denied tickets or because they chose to opt out, and most of those who won have made it to the new ministry.
Three of the four MPs — Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Maya Singh and Bhupendra Singh have found place in the ministry while K D Deshmukh was named pro-tem Speaker. Education Minister Archna Chitnis and Women and Child Development Minister Ranjana Baghel were dropped. Former Minister Kusum Mehdele, who had lost in 2008, returned to the Cabinet.
Deepak Joshi, son of former CM Kailash Joshi and Surendra Patwa, who besides being the nephew of former CM Sunderlal Patwa defeated Suresh Pachauri, are among the new faces and were made ministers of state. Controversial leader Kailash Vijayvargiya, 10-time MLA and former CM Babulal Gaur, tribal leader Vijah Shah, who was dropped after making alleged derogatory remarks against Chouhan's wife and was re-inducted months before the elections, are among the Cabinet ministers. BJP president Narendra Tomar said the ministry had been formed with the Lok Sabha polls in mind, saying that the new members will have to live up to the expectations.
The Congress, however, took a dig at Chouhan's recent assertion about "zero tolerance on corruption", alleging that seven of the 23 newly-inducted ministers were tainted. Former Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh said four were facing Lokayukta probes and three others were involved in separate corruption cases.
"The BJP accuses the Congress of being feudal but has inducted two members of an erstwhile royal family (Yashodhara Raje and Maya Singh)," Singh said.