Udayavni Special

MP: No cabinet for almost a month even as COVID-19 rages

PTI, Apr 17, 2020, 9:13 PM IST

Bhopal: After setting a record as the longest-serving chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan would surely not have wanted another ‘feather’ in his cap: the CM without a cabinet for the longest time.

It is 25 days since he was sworn in as chief minister for a fourth time amid the coronavirus outbreak, but he is functioning without a council of ministers.

Before the BJP lost the 2018 Assembly election to the Congress, Chouhan had served as chief minister for almost 13 years without a break, a feat no other politician in Madhya Pradesh has achieved.

On March 23, 2020, he took oath as chief minister for a record fourth term after Jyotiraditya Scindia’s rebellion brought down the Kamal Nath-led Congress government.

Before him, Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa had served without a council of ministers for 22 days in his latest innings, a BJP leader said.

Chouhan will need to accommodate the rebel Congress MLAs who have switched over to the party in his cabinet. BJP sources said that one of the issues that have cropped up is how big or how small the council of ministers should be in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Opposition Congress is targeting Chouhan, pointing out that despite the state facing a grave challenge in the form of a rising number of coronavirus cases and deaths, Madhya Pradesh does not have a health minister.

As of Thursday, the state had recorded 1,299 coronavirus cases and 63 deaths, most of them in Indore and Bhopal.

“This situation came about because of the coronavirus crisis. Fighting COVID-19 is the primary concern and priority of the chief minister,” said BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal.

But former chief minister Nath said the BJP is fooling the people of the state which does not have a cabinet or even a health minister amid the pandemic.

“This has happened nowhere in the world,” the state Congress chief said.

BJP sources said that the state may get a council of ministers soon.

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