Rajasthan Cabinet reshuffle: In balancing act, Congress to induct 12 new faces, including 5 from Pilot camp

The much-delayed Cabinet expansion and reshuffle of Ashok Gehlot-led Cabinet in Rajasthan is likely to be held on Sunday. The oath-taking c...

The much-delayed Cabinet expansion and reshuffle of Ashok Gehlot-led Cabinet in Rajasthan is likely to be held on Sunday.

The oath-taking ceremony of new Rajasthan ministers will take place at the governor’s house on Sunday at 4 pm, news agency ANI quoted sources as saying.

All ministers in the Congress-ruled Rajasthan resigned during a meeting at Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's residence in Jaipur on Saturday evening.

Later at night, the chief minister went to Raj Bhawan and held a meeting with Governor Kalraj Mishra in connection with the Cabinet reshuffle.

"All ministers resigned in the meeting," Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, who held the charge of the transport minister, told reporters here.

"We have been asked to go to the PCC office at 2 pm on Sunday where further instructions will be given by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, AICC general secretary Ajay Maken and PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasra," Khachariyawas said.

Khachariyawas said it is for the chief minister and the party high command to decide on reshuffling and it will be known tomorrow what instructions they give. "We will be reaching the PCC office tomorrow at 2 pm. We will be following further instructions given to us there," he said.

Why is this happening?

Three days ago, Gehlot had said that the cabinet restructuring would take place soon. At present, there are 21 members in the state Cabinet, including the chief minister.

Rajasthan, where the number of MLAs is 200, can have a maximum of 30 ministers, including the chief minister.

The clamour for Cabinet reshuffle had been growing for the past several months with a demand to accommodate supporters of CM Gehlot's former deputy Sachin Pilot, who had revolted against the chief minister last year. Pilot and 18 other MLAs had declared a revolt against the leadership of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot last year. Pilot has been categorical that the party should make changes and accommodate party workers so that they feel represented in the government.

Apart from the ruling party MLAs, independents who support the government and those who defected from the BSP to Congress also have expectations from the reshuffle.

The Rajasthan unit of the Congress has been facing turmoil with Pilot and Gehlot unable to see eye to eye on several matters.

Who are the new probables?

The Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government will have a total of 30 ministers, including 18 who had resigned earlier.

Three ministers of state, all of whom are from the Scheduled Caste (SC) community, have been elevated to the cabinet rank, the sources said.

The new state cabinet will for the first time have four SC members, a step taken by the Congress after elevating a Dalit as the chief minister of Punjab.

There will be three ministers from the Scheduled Tribe (ST) community, the sources said, adding that the cabinet will also feature three women -- a Muslim, one from the SC community and a Gujjar.

Among the new ministers to take oath as cabinet ministers are Hemaram Chaudhary, Mahendrajit Singh Malviya, Ramlal Jat, Mahesh Joshi, Vishvendra Singh, Ramesh Meena, Mamta Bhupesh Bhairwa, Bhajanlal Jatav, Tikaram Juli, Govind Ram Meghwal and Shakuntala Rawat.

Those who will take oath as the new ministers of state on Sunday are Zahida, Brijendra Singh Ola, Rajendra Durha and Muralilal Meena.

Among those from the Sachin Pilot camp who have been included in the ministry are Vishvendra Singh, Ramesh Meena and Hemaram Chaudhary as cabinet ministers, besides Brijendra Ola and Murari Meena as ministers of state.

Two of them -- Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena -- were sacked as cabinet ministers during a political crisis in the state last year.

The three SC ministers who have been elevated to the cabinet rank are Bhajanlal Jatav, Mamta Bhupesh Bhairwa and Tikaram Juli.

Another SC member, former MP Govind Ram Meghwal, is a fresh face to be included in the refurbished cabinet.

Rajinder Guda, a former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA who later joined the Congress, has also been included as a minister.

Dotasra shared the list of the 15 ministers -- 11 cabinet ministers and four ministers of state -- to be sworn-in on Sunday on Twitter.

The sources said no independent MLA has been given a ministerial berth, while some of them would be included as parliamentary secretaries.

Some former BSP legislators would also be included as parliamentary secretaries, they said, adding that some senior MLAs would be made advisers to the chief minister.
After the recent bypolls, in which it snatched a seat from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling Congress has 102 MLAs in the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly.

With inputs from agencies

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