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Shivraj finally picks ministers — top BJP man, 2 Scindia loyalists among 5 to aid Covid fight

Shivraj Singh Chouhan has expanded his cabinet after nearly a month, in which time MP has been struggling to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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New Delhi: Having managed Madhya Pradesh without a cabinet for 29 days, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has finally added five ministers, and left scope for a larger expansion after the Covid-19 crisis has passed.

The five ministers sworn-in Tuesday are BJP heavyweight Narottam Mishra, former ministers Kamal Patel and Meena Singh, and two former Congress ministers who rebelled against previous CM Kamal Nath and resigned their MLA posts — Tulsi Silawat and Govind Singh Rajput.

ThePrint takes a look at each of the new ministers’ past record.

Also read: Infection rate in 18 states offers hope but MP, Rajasthan, Bengal, Maharashtra are worries

Narottam Mishra

Mishra is credited by BJP insiders as the man behind ‘Operation Kamal’ to topple Kamal Nath’s government. He stayed in a Gurugram hotel with rebel Congress MLAs for 10 days, and then was instrumental in managing logistics and arranging a flight for them to MP’s capital Bhopal.

Mishra is a five-time MLA, and once former CM Babulal Gaur was forced into retirement, became the second-in-command to Chouhan in his previous term as CM. Mishra handled the parliamentary affairs, water resources and public relations portfolios, and was crucial to managing Chouhan’s image. He has served as a minister since Uma Bharati’s time as CM in 2003, and once handled the health portfolio as well.

Well-known as a political manager and someone with clout in the vernacular press, Mishra was disqualified for three years on charges of paid news by the Election Commission, but Chouhan did not drop him due to his clout.

Also read: Bhopal’s health dept, led by its IAS secy, becomes new corona hotspot, half city’s cases linked

Kamal Patel

Patel has previously served as revenue and medical education minister under Chouhan. A five-time MLA from Harda, he has been embroiled in controversies due to his son Sudip, who has 15 cases registered against him.

His son was also at the centre of his run-ins with former BJP state president Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan in 2017. Chauhan had issued the senior Patel a notice for his behaviour after he made comments against the party establishment.

The buzz is that Patel could get the health portfolio and be the point-man for the Covid-19 battle.

Meena Singh

Singh is a tribal woman leader and a five-time MLA. She has served under three BJP CMs — Uma Bharati, Babulal Gaur and Chouhan — as minister for women and child development, tribal affairs and rural development.

Tulsi Silawat 

Silawat, a Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalist, was the health minister in the Kamal Nath government, and was among the first lot of MLAs to rebel against him. A four-time MLA from Sanwer reserved constituency, he’s a top Dalit leader.

Silawat was recently included in an 11-member BJP task force to help the government fight the novel coronavirus. He was the man responsible for building the state’s healthcare capacity in terms of hospitals and labs, for which CM Chouhan has faced heavy criticism as the Covid-19 situation has spiralled in the state.

Govind Singh Rajput 

Another Scindia loyalist, Surkhi MLA Rajput was the revenue minister under Kamal Nath. In the course of the rebellion, he alleged that Kamal Nath had only taken care of his region, Chhindwara, and spent hundreds of crores on it.

Also read: Has politics in Madhya Pradesh damaged its battle against coronavirus?


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