Chhattisgarh cabinet to have maximum of 13 ministers including CM (strap)
RAIPUR, Dec 12: The BJP will ensure the swearing-in ceremony of the new Chhattisgarh cabinet under Vishnu Deo Sai on Wednesday will be a ‘historic’ event, which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah, BJP leaders and chief ministers, state chief Arun Sao said.
“Like the historic victory of BJP in the elections, the swearing-in ceremony of Sai and the council of minister will also be historic,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
The BJP on Sunday picked tribal leader Sai (59), a former Union minister who had also served as Chhattisgarh BJP chief, as the new chief minister.
Amid speculations over who will be inducted in the new cabinet and whether the state will get two deputy CMs, Sao said, “The exact number of leaders who will take oath will be known to everyone on time”.
Preparations are going on in full swing at Science College ground in Raipur, where the swearing-in ceremony will be held at 2 PM. More than 50,000 people are expected to attend the function.
“PM Narendra Modi ji, BJP president JP Nadda, home minister Amit Shah, chief ministers of other states, Union ministers, senior BJP leaders from other states, eminent personalities, and intellectuals will attend the ceremony,” Sao said.
BJP workers and common people will be also present in large numbers, he said, adding that all the political parties in the state, including the opposition (Congress), have been invited for the event.
Speaking about the preparations, an official said about 1,000 police personnel have been deployed for security arrangements. Intensive checks are being conducted at intersections, bus stands, railway stations, airports etc. in Raipur city, he said.
He said three separate stages are being built at the Science Ground for the programme.
“The main oath-taking ceremony will take place on the first stage. The middle one is reserved for VIPs, while the third platform is for the newly-elected MLAs,” the official said.
Separate sectors are being created at the venue for seating arrangements for special guests, media persons, and common people. LED lights are being fixed so that the event will be visible till the farther end of the ground. Huge screens are also being installed, the official added.
Meanwhile, speculations going on in state political circles suggested that the new council of ministers may be a mix of fresh faces and old-timers.
As per the norm, the Chhattisgarh cabinet can have a maximum of 13 ministers including the chief minister.
“Several fresh faces were elected in recent elections from the BJP sparking off speculations that the old-timers may find it tough to secure a cabinet berth,” said political expert R Krishna Das.
The BJP, which returned to power in Chhattisgarh after five years, will also have to keep social engineering in mind while picking ministers as it had done in the past, he said, adding that women may get a greater representation in the new cabinet.
Speculations are also rife that the cabinet will have two deputy CMs– one each from OBC and the general category.
Sao, who hails from the influential Sahu (Teli) OBC community, is said to be in the reckoning for the deputy CM’s post.
The lawyer-turned-politician, Sao, has steered clear of controversies and is seen as a neutral leader who doesn’t belong to any camp in the state BJP unit.
He won the the Lormi assembly seat by 45,891 votes against his nearest Congress rival Thaneshwar Sahu in the recent elections.
Another potential candidate for the deputy CM’s post is state BJP general secretary Vijay Sharma who trounced influential Congress leader and outgoing minister Mohammad Akbar in the Kawardha constituency by 39,592 votes.
The names of Brijmohan Agrawal and Amar Agrawal (both from the general category), Dharamlal Kaushik and Ajay Chandrakar (OBC), Kedar Kashyap, Vikram Usendi and Ramvichar Netam (Scheduled Tribe), Punnulal Mohile and Dayaldas Baghel (scheduled caste) and Rajesh Munat (Jain community) are doing rounds as the probable ministers in the Sai cabinet.
Among these leaders, except Dharamlal Kaushik, others had served as ministers in the previous BJP governments in the state.
Names of IAS officer-turned-politician OP Chaudhary, Gajendra Yadav, and Bhavna Bohra are discussed in political circles as potential fresh faces.
Former chief minister Raman Singh is likely to be named as the speaker of the state assembly.
Among women leaders, the names of former Union minister Renuka Singh, ex-MP Gomti Sai, and former state minister Lata Usendi are doing rounds. All three hail from tribal communities.
“Previous BJP governments (from 2003 to 2018) always had a woman minister in each term but this time the number may go up,” according to Das. (PTI)