Bhopal, Jan 7 (IANS) After the BJP’s central leadership sprung a surprise by nominating three-time MLA and former Minister Mohan Yadav as the new Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh on December 11, and 28 legislators took oath as Cabinet Ministers on December 25, the state’s political circles were abuzz with speculation over the portfolios that would be allocated to the ministers.
The big question doing the rounds was who will be the state’s Home Minister? This is because the list of Cabinet Ministers in Madhya Pradesh also includes some heavyweights like Kailash Vijayvargiya, Prahlad Patel and Rakesh Singh, to name a few.
After a week-long consultation on this with the party’s central leadership, Chief Minister Yadav allocated portfolio to his ministers, including two of his deputies – Rajendra Shukla and Jagdish Devda on December 30. He made a thoughtful choice and kept a balance in the power equations between the big names in the Cabinet.
Yadav decided to keep for himself the Home portfolio, which is the most crucial department in the state.
Yadav gave two clear messages by keeping the Home portfolio. First, that the Chief Minister will have an edge by having the Home Department under his control, a first for a BJP CM in the state.
Second, that he would face challenges head on, as he is well-aware of the fact that the state’s law and order situation has been pathetic.
Yadav has also decided to hold various portfolios such as the General Administration Department (GAD), Public Relations, Jails, Mining, Aviation, Industrial Policies and Investment Promotion.
Again, the Public Relations department has also a crucial role to play, especially in building the Chief Minister’s image and having indirect command over the state’s media.
One of the Deputy Chief Ministers, Jagdish Devda, who is from an economic background and has handled finance and commercial tax departments in former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Cabinet, was given the same portfolio in the Yadav Government too.
Yadav’s decision to allocate the Health Department to his other deputy Rajendra Shukla seems a very thoughtful step. Though Shukla is from an engineering background, he has run several ministries, including forest and energy and he has established himself as a competent minister during Chouhan’s regime.
Senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya has been given the responsibility of the Urban Development and Housing, and Parliamentary Affairs departments, while Prahlad Patel, a former Union Minister, was given the Panchayat and Rural Development portfolios.
Rakesh Singh, a former MP and now a Cabinet Minister, has been allocated the Public Works Department. Kunwar Vijay Shah was handed the Tribal Affairs and Bhopal Gas Tragedy departments.
Now, Yadav has made a beginning of his term as CM by giving an indication that he would be quite different from his predecessor Chouhan and is a pro-Hindutva leader like Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath.
Significantly, the BJP won the Assembly election despite a high anti-incumbency factor against its over two-decade-long rule in Madhya Pradesh. The central BJP leadership had sensed that the people’s sentiments were against Chouhan and therefore, he was sidelined ahead of the election and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah took direct command in Madhya Pradesh.
Despite being the most powerful leader of the state and launching several schemes in the last 16 years, Chouhan faced public wrath because of rampant corruption in the government and his failure to control it.
Uprooting the strong nexus of corruption embedded in the system would be the biggest challenge for Yadav, and if he succeeds in doing that even to some extent, it will be a big relief for the people of Madhya Pradesh.