Against the backdrop of alleged poaching attempts by the BJP, the Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government will expand its Cabinet soon, a senior leader of the states ruling party said on Sunday (March 8).
The Congress recently alleged that the BJP “abducted” 14 MLAs to bring down the Kamal Nath government in the state. However, the BJP denied the allegation, saying it has nothing to do with the development, which it claimed was the result of “infighting” among Congress leaders ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled on March 26.
“We are going to expand the state Cabinet shortly. There is no threat to the government now as the BJP money bag operation has failed,” a senior Congress leader told PTI.
A political observer, however, said the Cabinet expansion would be a herculean task for the state government as it has to accommodate MLAs of “different factions” of the ruling Congress, and its allies and Independents. Earlier, it took time for the Congress to expand the Cabinet one year ago, after formation of the government in December 2018, due to “infighting” among groups of senior party leaders Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, he said.
The Congress holds a thin majority in the 230-member Assembly with its own 114 MLAs and support of two legislators of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), one of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and four independents. The BJP has 107 legislators while two seats are vacant.
The state Cabinet currently has 29 members, including Chief Minister Kamal Nath. The Congress can induct six more ministers into the Cabinet to placate the disgruntled MLAs.
Ten legislators, including two of the BSP and one of the SP went missing on Tuesday, following which Digvijaya Singh alleged that they were taken to a hotel in Haryana by the BJP, which offered them bribe to topple the Kamal Nath government.
The ruling party in the state has been successful in bringing back seven of these MLAs — six from Delhi and one from Bengaluru.
Three Congress MLAs — Hardeep Singh Dang, Bisahulal Singh and Raghuraj Kansana — are reportedly still untraceable. A resignation letter purportedly written by Dang went viral on social media recently, but the MLA could not be contacted for verification.