Special Correspondent

JAIPUR: In what could be explained as an exercise in fine-tuning regional and caste equations prior to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is slated to expand his 14-member Cabinet on Saturday.

There has been considerable pressure on Mr. Gehlot, who took the oath of office alone on December 13 and carried out induction of 13 colleagues into the Cabinet on January 16, to accommodate more people so that certain caste groups could be adjusted.

At present the Gehlot Government has 11 Ministers of Cabinet rank and two Ministers of State, besides the Parliamentary Secretaries. With ten more ministers scheduled to take oath on Saturday, the strength of the Cabinet will go up to 24. As such Rajasthan, with a 200-member Assembly, can have 30 Ministers.

The MLAs scheduled to take oath are: Jitendra Singh, Rajendra Pareek, Amin Khan, Pramaod Jain ‘Baya’, Bharosilal Jatav, Ramlal Jat, Maniglal Garasia, Gurmeet Kunnar, Babulal Nagar and Ashok Bairwa. Governor Shailendra Kumar Singh will administer the oath to the new Ministers. Most of them would be first-timers as Ministers but are experienced MLAs.

New Chief Secretary

Earlier on Friday, a 1974 batch woman IAS officer, Kushal Singh, was appointed the new Chief Secretary of Rajasthan. She replaces D.C. Samant, who took oath during the day as Chairman of the Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Mr. Samant was due to retire in June this year. His new appointment is for five years.