JAIPUR: The induction of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president C. P. Joshi into the new Union Council of Ministers which was sworn in on Friday in New Delhi did not come as a big surprise to many here given the emergence of “C.P. Saheb” -- as he is popularly known among the party workers -- over the past two years.
However, there was surely a surprise element in his presence among the first batch of 19 Cabinet Ministers sworn in along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He is a first-time MP and first-time Minister at the Centre though he was a Cabinet Minister in the Gehlot Government in Rajasthan from 1988 to 2003.
Dr. C. P. Joshi, Professor of Psychology at Udaipur’s Mohanlal Sukhadia University, has finally arrived.
His choice is a big message to the people of Rajasthan and it seems both Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi did not want others to miss it.
The 59-year-old academician, who has reportedly impressed the young Mr. Gandhi with his techno-savvy presentation of data, skill for political analysis and his style of speaking out his mind -- even when it can invite trouble for himself -- has upstaged most of the politicians in Rajasthan.
Dr. Joshi surely shares credit with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for the scintillating Congress performance in Rajasthan in which the party won 20 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats from the State. Though while deciding on the Chief Minister in December 2008 there was some talk about Dr. Joshi too being an aspirant for the post, the relationship between the two has remained strong and cordial as always.
In fact it was the unity among all Congressmen, brought about by the Chief Minister and the PCC president, which ensured a near sweep by the party here this time round.
Dr. Joshi, who lost from his traditional Nathdwara Assembly seat in Rajsamand district in the December 2008 elections by a single vote, has surpassed his party colleagues in the State including his political rival from Mewar, Girija Vyas. Presently chairperson of the National Commission for Women, Dr. Vyas was among the aspirants for a Cabinet berth now. Perhaps she still stands a chance in the expansion taking place next week, but the factors weighing against her now would be the their sharing the same area and caste.
While Dr. Joshi represents Bhilwara in the Lok Sabha, Dr. Vyas has won this time from the adjoining seat of Chittaurgarh. Now the party would surely have a problem in finding a slot for a second person -- also a Brahmin -- from the region though Dr. Vyas’ experience as a Union Minister of State in the past and her being a woman can be considered in her favour. Apart from Dr. Vyas, Dr. Joshi’s elevation has upset the dreams of veteran Jat leader Sisram Ola, who has been hoping to make it to the Manmohan Cabinet once again.