BHOPAL: Ahead of state Assembly elections due in the latter half of 2018, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expanded his Council of Ministers on Saturday.
The three new ministers inducted in the Cabinet are Balkrishna Patidar, Narayan Singh Kushwaha and Jalam Singh Patel. The trio took the oath of office at Raj Bhawan in Bhopal in the Saturday morning.
The Chief Minister further hinted at another expansion in the Cabinet.
"It is a matter of happiness, will make the cabinet more balanced which will lead to better work & results. One expansion has taken place, another small one will also be done," said Chouhan.
Patidar, who belongs from the Nimar region, is an MLA from Khargone, while Kushwaha represents Gwalior South in the Assembly. Patel, an MLA from Narsinghpur, is the younger brother of BJP MP and former Union minister Prahlad Singh Patel.
The Chouhan-led BJP government is eyeing a fourth term in the state.
Before the expansion, the Cabinet had 20 ministers, including the chief minister and nine ministers of state since December 2013. The number of ministers is up to 23 now. The state can have a maximum of 35 ministers as per the Constitutional provisions.
Meanwhile, state Congress president Arun Yadav submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission of India, stating that the expansion of Cabinet barely days ahead of MP by-polls goes against the Model Code of Conduct.
Bypolls to Mungaoli and Kolaras are scheduled to be held on February 24.
In the memorandum, Yadav demanded that the proposed cabinet expansion be postponed to February 28.
With PTI inputs