As part of the much-awaited Cabinet expansion and reshuffle in Rajasthan, 15 Ministers were sworn in on Sunday, taking the strength of the Council of Ministers to the maximum permissible limit of 30. Eleven of the legislators who took oath, were inducted as Cabinet Ministers and four as Ministers of State.
Governor Kalraj Mishra administered the oath of office to the new ministers on the Raj Bhawan lawns here. The 11 Cabinet Ministers included Mamta Bhupesh, Bhajan Lal Jatav and Tikaram Jully, who were elevated from Minister of State.
Two former ministers, Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena, who were sacked along with then Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot after his rebellion in July 2020, made a triumphant comeback to the State Cabinet. Others inducted as Cabinet Ministers were Hemaram Choudhary, Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya, Ramlal Jat, Mahesh Joshi, Govind Ram Meghwal and Shakuntla Rawat.
The new Ministers of State sworn in at the ceremony were two-time Kaman MLA Zahida Khan, Jhunjhunu MLA Brijendra Singh Ola, Dausa MLA Murari Lal Meena and Udaipurwati MLA Rajendra Singh Gudha, who was elected on the Bahujan Samaj Party ticket and had later joined the Congress.
The expanded Cabinet has three women and four Dalit members. None of the independent MLAs, who had extended support to the Congress government during the political crisis last year, was inducted as a Minister. This was the first Cabinet reshuffle of the Congress government since it came to power in 2018.
Following the expansion, the Council of Ministers now has 19 Cabinet Ministers and 10 Ministers of State, besides Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
Though Mr. Gehlot had collected resignation letters from all the Ministers on Saturday ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, he handed over the papers of only three of them to the Governor for acceptance. The three Ministers — Govind Singh Dotasra, Harish Chaudhary and Raghu Sharma — were dropped in accordance with the “one man, one post” formula in the Congress; the three hold official positions in the party.
Mr. Gehlot told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony that while an attempt had been made to give representation to all sections in the Cabinet, the portfolios would be allocated keeping in mind the preparations for the 2023 State Assembly election.
Tonk MLA Sachin Pilot, whose rebellion had threatened the Congress government’s stability, said at a press conference that the Cabinet reshuffle had sent across a “positive message” and denied that there was any factionalism in the party. He said the issues raised by him, such as an adequate representation to Dalits, had been addressed with a “comprehensive approach” in the Cabinet expansion