Bhopal: The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh cabinet was expanded on Thursday with induction of 28 ministers, including a dozen loyalists of Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose exit from the Congress in March led to the fall of the 15-month-old Kamal Nath-led regime in the state.
Governor Anandiben Patel administered the oath of office to the ministers at Raj Bhawan. COVID-19 protocols were followed at the ceremony.
The new ministers include 20 of cabinet rank and eight ministers of state. The Chouhan ministry strength is now 34.
Chouhan took oath as chief minister for a record fourth term on March 23, after Nath resigned from the post following rebellion by 22 MLAs of the Congress.
This is the second expansion of the Chouhan cabinet. The first one was on April 21 where five ministers, including two former Congress MLAs close to Scindia — Tulsi Silawat and Govind Singh Rajput were inducted.
The Chouhan cabinet still has one vacancy as the ministry's strength, depending on the size of the House, should not exceed 35 as per constitutional norms.
Former BJP ministers including Gopal Bhargava, Vijay Shah, Jagdish Devda, Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Bhupendra Singh, Brajendra Pratap Singh and Vishwas Sarang were among those inducted in Thursday's expansion.
From Jyotiraditya Scindia camp, Bisahulal Singh, Aidal Singh Kansana Imarti Devi, Prabhuram Choudhary, Mahendra Singh Sisodia,Pyadyumna Singh Tomar, Hardeep Singh Dang, Rajwardhan Singh Dattigaon were inducted as cabinet ministers, while Brajendra Singh Yadav, Girraj Dandotia, Suresh Dhakad and OPS Bhadoria were sworn in as ministers of state.
From BJP, Prem Singh Patel, Om Prakash Saklecha, Usha Thakur, Arvind Bhadoria and Mohan Yadav were inducted as cabinet ministers, while Bharat Singh Kushwaha, Inder Singh Parmar, Ramkhelavan Patel and Ram Kishore Kavre took oath as minister of state.
Those inducted from the Scindia camp are not MLAs as they resigned from the Assembly in March, leading to the fall of the 15-month-old Congress government led by Kamal Nath.
They will be contesting the Assembly bypolls. There are 24 Assembly seats vacant in the state.
Chouhan, Scindia and Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar were among those present at the Raj Bhawan ceremony.