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MLA Becomes Minister, Twice in 15 Minutes, In Bizarre Oath-Taking Ceremony



Madhya Pradesh MLA Ramniwas Rawat takes a ministerial oath.


Madhya Pradesh BJP MLA Ramniwas Rawat – a Congress leader and a recent addition to the ruling party – was inducted into Chief Minister Mohan Yadav’s cabinet this morning. However, what should have been a routine procedure was marked by an unusual, even chaotic, sequence of events.

Mr Rawat was scheduled to be sworn in – at 9 am by Governor Mangubhai C Patel at Raj Bhavan, with the Chief Minister and other dignitaries looking on – as a Cabinet Minister. By 9.03 am he was administered the oath – but that of a Minister of State, a junior post.

Fifteen minutes later Mr Rawat was administered a second oath – as a Cabinet Minister.

The double oath-taking ceremony has led to questions about procedural lapses.

The oath ceremony faux pas underlined the odd nature of Mr Rawat’s induction. He is now the first person to serve as a minister in a BJP government while still being a Congress MLA.

How? Because Mr Rawat has not yet resigned from the Congress, for whom he was also Working President of the party’s state unit and the MLA from the Vijaypur Assembly constituency.

He has, nonetheless, become a member of the BJP and a minister.

Mr Rawat is also in the unprecedented position of being both a MoS and Cabinet Minister.

This happened because he did not formally resign from the former (after being administered the incorrect oath) before taking oath for the latter.

Mr Rawat spoke to NDTV after the chaotic sequence of events and expressed gratitude towards the BJP for making him a minister. He also hit out at his not-yet-former employer.

“Congress has no right to accuse me… there is no resentment (from my side) but what they did not give me, this government respected me…” he declared. Reflecting on his unusual oath, “I missed the word ‘ka’ by mistake. I took oath twice… I am the first minister to take oath twice in half an hour.”

The Congress – which has filed a petition with Speaker Narendra Singh Tomar – to disqualify Mr Rawat and Nirmala Sapre, another now ex-leader to join the BJP – has been quick to react.

Congress spokesperson Avaneesh Bundela has questioned the BJP’s claim of good governance.

“In the government of Dr Mohan Yadav, which claims to be about good governance, today there was such negligence… a mistake like this has probably never been seen before in the country.”

“Now there is confusion,” he said claiming the error had been triggered either by “negligence” from the Governor’s office or “pressure from higher political figures”, referring to former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and ex-Union Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Mr Rawat, a six-time MLA from Sheopur district, joined the BJP in April, He was previously the junior Home Minister in the Congress government led by Digvijaya Singh.

The induction today means the state government has 19 Cabinet Ministers

Mr Rawat’s jump to the BJP will trigger a by-election for his seat.

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