JAIPUR: Convening a meeting of the State Cabinet has turned out to be a sensitive issue in Rajasthan after the much talked about absence of half a dozen senior Ministers from the one held in Kota in the fourth week of January.
As a practice, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has been convening the weekly meeting of her Cabinet on Wednesdays. After the Kota face-off with the Ministers there has been no Cabinet meeting last week and, in all probability, it may not take place on February 7 as well.
The previous week there were talks about an aborted meeting of the Cabinet after the supporters of Ms. Raje got wind of the chance of some Ministers keeping away once again. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Singh Rathore had then denied reports of a last-minute cancellation of the Cabinet meeting explaining that it was not scheduled in the first place. That time it was said that the next meeting would be held.
Now with the situation getting worse for Ms. Raje among a section of her Cabinet colleagues with the reports of four Ministers tendering their resignation to the party president Rajnath Singh in protest against her way of functioning, a Cabinet meeting is going to be a difficult exercise for the Chief Minister.
It is feared that holding of a Cabinet meeting in the immediate future would only provide an opportunity for the detractors of Ms. Raje for a showdown. However a nod from the Cabinet is needed for the Budget session of the State Assembly, scheduled for the fourth week of the month. Senior functionaries of the General Administration Department here confirmed that a notice has not been issued for any Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. For the Assembly session the Chief Minister can get the approval of her colleagues through circulation of a note.
Though the Ministers who went to Delhi to meet Mr. Rajnath Singh returned here to resume their work once again, the activities of the dissidents continued with party workers and a section of the leadership meeting in groups at various locations and holding discussions.
Reports of resignations of the Ministers since then denied by all concerned is now followed by the resignation of Bansilal Khateek and Mohan Meghwal, BJP MLAs who are said to be closer to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. There were also reports about half a dozen MLAs sending their resignations to the party president in New Delhi.
BJP State president Mahesh Sharma, whose re-nomination a fortnight ago sparked off the present round of acrimony between Ms.Raje and her opponents, returned to the capital on Tuesday from Mumbai. Dr.Sharma, who contacted Mahavir Jain, the Chief Whip of the ruling party in the State Assembly, by evening denied the reports of resignations by the MLAs.