Last minute lobbying on to become Chhattisgarh minister

December 21st, 2008 - 4:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyRaipur, Dec 21 (IANS) About a dozen newly-elected legislators of Chhattisgarh’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have stepped up last minute efforts to be part of the cabinet, which is to be sworn in Monday, though they are unlikely to become ministers. Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan will administer oath of office Dec 22 to BJP’s new team here at Police Parade ground. The BJP retained power in the 90-member assembly polls in the mineral rich state by bagging 50 seats.

BJP sources say that Chief Minister Raman Singh has got approval from the central leadership for his new team in which there will be at least 4-5 new faces while a minimum five people are to be retained from the old team.

“With luck not going in their favour despite all out efforts since Dec 8 when poll results were announced, about a dozen MLAs including four who pulled off a surprise win against Congress veterans, have made fresh efforts to find space in the council of ministers,” a source in BJP told IANS.

The source added: “There is hardly any chance now to alter the list which has already been approved by the central leadership.”

Among the old faces, revenue and forest minister Brijmohan Agrawal who won for the fifth time in a row from Raipur city south, health minister Amar Agrawal who scored a hat-trick from Bilaspur and home minister Ramvichar Netam who managed fifth successive win, this time from Ramanujganj, are all set to be sworn in as cabinet rank ministers.

Party sources claimed that there is enough possibility that Raman Singh will reshuffle portfolios of these three seniors this time.

Sources say the BJP will induct at least 2-3 lawmakers of Maoist insurgency-hit Bastar region into the council of ministers as the party recorded the best ever performance by winning 11 out of 12 seats of the region.

The party wants to strike a perfect balance in the cabinet among two strong sections - Scheduled Tribes having 32 percent of state’s total 20.08 million population and Other Backward Classes (OBC) that comprise roughly 50 percent.

“At least four MLAs from each of the two communities will be sure to get into the council of ministers,” said a leader with a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) background.

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