Madhya Pradesh Cabinet to be sworn-in today

By Pervez Bari,,

Bhopal: After much confabulations over the formation of council of ministers the Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), high command has okayed the list of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s ministerial colleagues.

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The council of ministers will be sworn-in on Saturday afternoon. The new council of ministers will be sworn-in on Saturday afternoon at 15.30 hours, an official spokesperson said here tonight. The preparations had begun for the oath-taking ceremony.

It is now more than a week when all alone Chouhan took oath of office and secrecy for the second term as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister without any other member of his ministry taking oath after BJP retained power in the November 27 elections.

After returning from New Delhi, Chouhan met Governor Dr. Balram Jakhar at Raj Bhawan at 1630 hours. Both held discussions for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, BJP sources said Chouhan and state BJP state president Narendra Singh Tomar met BJP’s central leadership in New Delhi and gave final shape to the list of names to be inducted in the council of ministers keeping in mind various equations.

Most senior ministers in the previous BJP regime are likely to get ministerial berths. These include Kailash Vijayvargiya, Gopal Bhargav, Anup Mishra, Jayant Malaiya, Raghvji, Babulal Gaur, Moti Kashyap, Ranjana Baghel, Sartaj Singh, Ramkrishna Kusumaria, Nita Pateria. Besides, a few fresh faces would be inducted into the council of ministers, sources added.

Meanwhile, a network of over 1,200 civil society groups has urged the BJP in Madhya Pradesh to deny ministerial berths to those legislators who have a criminal background.

“All the political parties should take such a step as a gesture of cleansing the government and politics of unsavoury elements,” said Jagdeep S Chhokar, one of the founder members of the network called Association for Democratic Reforms.

The association has identified 27 legislators against whom criminal cases are pending and has sent their names to senior party leaders, including former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, LK Advani, Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley.

“The list of tainted legislators has been prepared on the basis of the affidavits they have submitted with the Election Commission,” Chhokar said.

“We would urge you that in the interest of good, effective and transparent governance, legislators who have criminal cases pending against them should not be appointed ministers in the state government,” said the letter sent to senior BJP leaders.

“By not accommodating such legislators as ministers, the party might send the right message that there is a serious effort by the political establishment to cleanse the governance and politics of unsavoury elements, who give a bad name to the entire political establishment,” the letter added.

However, the legislators, whose names figure in the list, describe the association’s effort as “unwarranted”.

“How can registration of a case make someone criminal until it is proven in a court of law?” asked state BJP spokesman Umashankar Gupta.

“It would be unjust to keep any legislator away from the job he deserves to do simply on basis of criminal charges,” Gupta said. But he added that “the BJP had been ensuring that people with a clean image come on the centre stage”.

The list of legislators the association has sent to BJP leaders includes the names of Bhanu Rana, Ramesh Saxena, Nagar Singh Chouhan, Abhay Kumar Mishra, Vishwas Sarang, Ajay Vishnoi, Umashankar Gupta and Girish Gautam.

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