Three of the Ministers were BSP MLAs before they joined Congress
JAIPUR: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot expanded his nearly one year old Council of Ministers on Thursday by inducting four new Ministers of State. Acting Governor Prabha Rau administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new Ministers -- three of whom are first-time MLAs -- at a function at Raj Bhavan.
Among the new Ministers is Brajendra Ola, son of former Union Minister Sisram Ola.
The ceremony was attended by Mr. Gehlot, Union Minister and PCC chief C. P. Joshi, Speaker Deependra Singh Shekhawat and Mr. Sisram Ola besides Ministers and senior bureaucrats.
Three of the new Ministers -- Murarilal Meena, Rajkumar Sharma, Rajendra Singh Gudda -- were with the Bahujan Samaj Party till the entire group of six BSP MLAs joined the ruling Congress early this year to help it gain a simple majority in the 200-member House. The remaining three former BSP MLAs -- Ramesh Chandra Meena, Giriraj Singh and Ramkesh Meena -- have been accommodated as Parliamentary Secretaries. Mr. Gehlot administered the oath to them in the afternoon at a function in the Chief Minister’s Office.
The induction of the younger Ola (though not so young really at 57) is considered to be a consolation prize for Mr. Sisram Ola, the Congress strongman from the Shekhawati region who was not inducted into the Union Council of Ministers in the UPA Government this time. Ever since the elder Ola was replaced by Mahadev Singh Khandela as a representative of the Jat community in the Union Council of Ministers, Mr. Sisram Ola has been waiting for some kind of compensation. That has now come as a berth for his son in the State Ministry.
Though Mr. Brajendra Ola had failed in his past attempts to get into the Assembly, he has a track record of leadership in the panchayati raj. He has been the Zila Pramukh of Jhunjhunu twice.
Curiously, three of the four Ministers inducted this time happen to be from the Shekhawati districts of Sikar and Jhunjhunu. The 36-year-old Dr. Sharma, elected from Nawalgarh in Jhunjhunu district, has a background of student politics. He had been the president of the Rajasthan University Student Union. The only experienced MLA (second timer) in the present lot is Mr. Murarilal Meena.