Other States

New look Rajasthan Cabinet effects regional, caste balance

Ramesh Meena takes oath as Cabinet minister in the presence of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Ghelot and Governor Kalraj Mishra during a swearing-in-ceremony, at Raj Bhawan in Jaipur, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Cabinet expansion carried out in Rajasthan, followed by portfolio allocations to the newly inducted 15 Ministers as well as others on Monday, has sought to bring together the rival camps in the ruling Congress in a balancing act with an eye on the 2023 Assembly elections. The exercise has also made an attempt to correct caste and regional imbalances in the Council of Ministers.

The expansion has taken the Council of Ministers to its full strength of 30, including 19 Cabinet Ministers and 10 Ministers of State, besides Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. In addition to the inclusion of five loyalists of Congress leader Sachin Pilot, the new Cabinet has given due representation to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and politically powerful Jat community.

The eastern Rajasthan districts of Bharatpur, Dausa, Karauli and Jaipur, which were not adequately represented in the Cabinet earlier, have received a fair share in the new appointments. However, this has resulted in no Minister being inducted from as many as 12 of the 33 districts in the State.

The prominent among those taken in from the eastern districts are Deeg-Kumher MLA Vishvendra Singh, Sapotra MLA Ramesh Meena and Dausa MLA Murarilal Meena, who had joined the rebellion of Mr. Pilot in July 2020. Others are Zahida Khan (Kaman), Parsadi Lal Meena (Lalsot), Mamta Bhupesh (Sikrai), Bhajanlal Jatav (Weir) and Subhash Garg (Bharatpur).

Also read: Cabinet reshuffle sends positive message across Rajasthan, says Pilot

 

In an attempt at social engineering, nine of the 30 Ministerial seats have been given to Dalits and tribals, while five Jats, three Rajputs, two Brahmins, three Vaishyas, two Muslims, two Gujjars, one Yadav and one Bishnoi have secured the ministerial berths. Mr. Gehlot himself comes from an Other Backward Class (OBC) community. These Ministers include those who were serving before the reshuffle.

Hawamahal (Jaipur) MLA Mahesh Joshi, given the Public Health Engineer Department portfolio, and Bikaner West MLA Bulaki Das Kalla, appointed the Education Minister, are the two prominent Brahmin faces of the Cabinet. While Mr. Joshi was the ruling party's chief whip in the State Assembly, Mr. Kalla was earlier the Energy Minister.

Tribal leader Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya, representing Banswara district’s Bagidora constituency, has been inducted as a Cabinet Minister in an apparent attempt to check the growing influence of Bharatiya Tribal Party in the tribal-dominated southern Rajasthan districts. Mr. Malviya, who has been given the water resources portfolio, was the Rural Development Minister in the Gehlot Cabinet from 2008 to 2013.

While Saleh Mohammed, representing Jaisalmer district’s Pokaran constituency, is already a Muslim face in the Cabinet, Ms. Zahida Khan has been made a Minister of State and given the independent charge of Science & Technology Department.

Of the six Bahujan Samaj Party legislators who merged with Congress after the formation of the government, only one — Rajendra Singh Gudha — from Jhunjhunu Udaipurwati seat, has found a place in the expansion and made the Minister of State for Soldiers' Welfare and Civil Defence. None of the independent MLAs supporting the Congress Government has been appointed to the Cabinet.

In the allocation of portfolios to the Ministers, Mr. Gehlot continues to hold the Home, Finance and Taxation departments with him, while Urban Development Minister Shanti Dhariwal, Agriculture Minister Lalchand Kataria, Mines & Petroleum Minister Pramod Bhaya and Cooperative Minister Udai Lal Anjana continue in the same position.

Parsadi Lal Meena will be the new Medical & Health Minister, Pratap Singh Khachariawas the Food & Civil Supplies Minister, Hemaram Chaudhary the Forest & Environment Minister, Ramlal Jat the Revenue Minister, Ramesh Meena the Panchayati Raj & Rural Development Minister and Vishvendra Singh the Tourism Minister.

After the reshuffle, six MLAs, including three Independents, have been appointed advisers to the Chief Minister. All of them are considered close to Mr. Gehlot, who had said after the swearing-in ceremony that those who did not make it to the Council of Ministers would be adjusted in other political appointments to give representation to the districts which were left out because of the party's policy of not appointing first-term MLAs as Ministers.


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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 8:01:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rajasthan-cm-allocates-portfolios-to-ministers-retains-home-and-finance/article37626278.ece

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