As the state grapples the Coronavirus crisis without a Health minister, Madhya Pradesh will witness a cabinet expansion on Tuesday, as per ANI sources. Currently, Chouhan is running a one-man cabinet as the Coronavirus cases soared. The state currently has 1485 cases with 74 deaths.
Expansion of Madhya Pradesh cabinet, under Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, to be held tomorrow: Sources pic.twitter.com/MeFyetQaq0— ANI (@ANI) April 20, 2020
Chouhan has appointed a COVID-19 task force with 21 other MLAs. The task force is headed by former health minister Tulsi Silawat from the Kamal Nath cabinet and a Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalist. The government has sealed off 15 districts in addition to the three major cities Bhopal, Ujjain, and Indore - which have already been sealed. Previously, the state government also invoked the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) in the state with immediate effect to combat COVID-19 to ensure essential supplies and services are operational during this crisis.
On April 7, 32 health officials tested positive in the office building of Madhya Pradesh Directorate of Health Services in Bhopal. While the source of the COVID-19 outbreak is unknown, reports state that Principal Secretary of the State Public Health and Family Welfare Department, Deputy Directors, Additional Directors, and other officers have tested positive. Reports state that the health officials had attended a meeting to fight COVID-19, spreading the virus - which has now affected 90 officials. Chouhan has ordered a probe to find how 2 IAS officers led to 90 state health officials in Bhopal testing positive.
On March 23, a day before the nationwide lockdown was announced, BJP MP chief Shivraj Singh Chouhan took oath as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh at Raj Bhavan for the fourth time. Chouhan said that his only goal was to stop coronavirus, inspite of hosting a public meeting where all BJP MLAs were seen celebrating, garlanding Chouhan, hugging him, feeding sweets and raising joined hands. BJP came back into power after Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned from the party along with 22 MLAs, reducing the Congress to a minority government with 92 MLAs.