BHOPAL: Even as three ministers of Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet lost their seats during the recently concluded by-elections in the state, two of them, Imarti Devi and Giriraj Dandotiya, are managing not to let their ministerial berth slip out of their finger for the time being.
Sources disclosed that the ministers should have resigned on moral grounds immediately after losing the election, they seem to be waiting for the party’s decision on their new postings in a board or a corporation.
Imarti Devi, who is woman and child welfare minister, suffered a humiliating defeat in Dabra assembly seat of Gwalior despite being the most talked about candidate from BJP. She lost the poll to her Congress rival Suresh Raje by a margin of 7,971 votes though, she had claimed a victory by a margin of over 60,000 votes.
Similarly, minister of state (MoS) for farmer welfare and agriculture development, Giriraj Dandotiya lost the Dimni assembly seat in Morena district to his Congress rival Ravindra Singh Tomar by a huge margin of 19,712 votes. When contacted, Imarti Devi didn’t respond to the calls however, Dandotia said that he will soon resign from the cabinet.
“We are yet to get over the defeat. My resignation is inevitable. What party will say we will follow the same,” Dandotiya told TOI over phone.
One of the three ministers, Adal Singh Kansana, who was holding the public health engineering (PHE) department had resigned a day after the poll results saying, “If the public had wished us to continue as minister, we would have won. But I lost the election and the very next day decided to resign from the post on moral grounds.”
Constitutional experts observed that the ministers could remain on the post for six months of taking oath of the office. “Any common person who takes oath of the office as a minister can remain on the post till six months. If they had won the assembly election, they could continue on the post. In this case, after six months their appointment will be cancelled suo moto,” said former principal secretary of assembly, Bhagwandas Israni adding, “However, the ministers should have resigned on moral grounds immediately after their defeat.”
The three ministers in question had taken oath in Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet on July 2, during the second rejig of the team. They could remain on their post for six months which will be over on January 1, 2021.
Sources in BJP disclosed that there is a mounting pressure on the state leadership to accommodate the three leaders in any board or corporation and accord them a cabinet minister status too. However, a decision to his effect is likely only after the approval by the central leadership. BJP said the entire matter comes under the chief minister’s prerogative.
“This is the chief minister’s prerogative whom to appoint and whom to drop. Technically the ministers can remain in office for six months,” said BJP state spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal.
The Congress has questioned the continuation of two ministers on their post on moral grounds. “At first, it was unethical for ministers to fight the by-election without being an MLA. Then it is a political shame to remain in office after losing the poll battle. BJP should think on this ethically,” said Congress state spokesperson, K K Mishra.