Madhya Pradesh Cabinet Choice Leaves Many Congress Leaders, Allies Fuming

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The final list for Madhya Pradesh cabinet was signed off by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

Bhopal:

The division of ministerial berths in Madhya Pradesh has not only upset Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, several aspirants of the Congress and Independents are also shedding tears over it. At least two Congress lawmakers have gone public saying they were promised ministerial berths. A couple of Independent leaders who supported the Congress also accused the party of reneging on a similar deal.

The Congress, which won 114 of the state's 230 seats in an extremely close-run race, had to accept the support of the Samajwadi Party and the Independents to reach the magic figure of 116. On Christmas day, 28 ministers, all given cabinet rank, took oath.

The team includes 11 loyalists of Chief Minister Kamal Nath, nine supporters of Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh, seven from Jyotiraditya Scindia's camp, and one supporter of state party chief Arun Yadav.

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Coming on the heels of a power tussle for the top post, the cabinet formation was a delicate balancing act. The final list was signed off by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

But it had apparently left out several people.

Today, Congress lawmaker from Manawar, Dr Heeralal Alawa, told NDTV that he has written to Rahul Gandhi asking for a meeting. The party, he said, had promised him a ministerial birth if voted to power. It was the support of tribals – among whom he has considerable support – that helped the Congress perform so well in the Malwa-Nimar belt.

Another Congress lawmaker, Hardip Singh Dang, says he should be included in the cabinet because he is the only one to win one of the eight assembly seats under the Mandsaur Lok Sabha seat, which is a BJP stronghold. "Ujjain division is not properly represented… As far as social equation is concerned in 230 seats, only one Sikh is elected so that would have sent a good message if I was included in the cabinet," he told NDTV.

In Sumawali, the supporters of Congress's Aidal Singh Kansana resorted to violence in Ambah, demanding a ministerial berth for him. They blocked the highway near Piprai and set fire to car tyres. Two other independent lawmakers – Vikram Singh Rana from Susner, and Kedar Dawar from Bhagwanpura – are also upset about not getting any ministerial berths.

Yesterday, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said the Congress did not include its lone lawmaker as promised, and hinted that he might return the favour while considering alliances for Uttar Pradesh.

"Thanks to the Congress, they did not make our vidhayak (legislator) a minister," Akhilesh Yadav told reporters on Wednesday. By doing so, said the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, the Congress had "cleared the path for Uttar Pradesh".

Like his ally Mayawati, Mr Yadav had no pre-poll alliance with the Congress but had reluctantly agreed to support the party to keep the BJP out of power in the state.

Former ministers Bishaulal Singh, KP Singh, the six-time MLA from Pichhore, had skipped the oath ceremony.

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