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Ashok Gehlot to recast Rajasthan Cabinet today with 12 new members

Five loyalists of Sachin Pilot, the former deputy CM who had led a rebellion against Ashok Gehlot recently, feature on the list of new members of the Cabinet

November 21, 2021 / 02:01 PM IST

The Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan will recast its Cabinet today for the first time since it took charge in 2018.

Fifteen ministers will take oath at 4pm on November 21. They include 12 new entrants and three ministers of state will be elevated to the Cabinet rank.

The reshuffle, finalised by the Congress High Command, assumes significance since it will have five ministers who are seen as supporters Sachin Pilot, the former deputy chief minister, who had led a rebellion against Gehlot 16 months ago. Pilot, who had the support of 18 MLAs, said he is happy.

READ: Rajasthan Cabinet rejig: All ministers submit resignation to CM Ashok Gehlot; list of new inductees out

“The step taken by the party and the leadership sends a positive message across the state. We had raised this issue time and again. I am happy that the party, the high command and the state government took cognisance of it,” Pilot told the media ahead of the oath-taking.

While Pilot loyalists Ramesh Meena and Vishwendra Singh will return to the ministry, Brijendra Singh Ola, Hemaram Choudhary and Murarilal Meena will be new entries. Meena and Ola will be inducted as ministers of state while the other three will be Cabinet ministers.

Also, read: Rajasthan Cabinet reshuffle soon: Congress to implement 'one person, one post' formula

All ministers of the Rajasthan government submitted their resignation to the chief minister on November 20. And, in the next few hours, the Congress announced a list of members who would be part of the new Cabinet.

“Four Dalit ministers have been included in the new Cabinet. It’s a message that the AICC and the state government want representation for Dalits, backward and poor. For a long time, there was no Dalit representation in our government. It’s now been made up for and they’ve been included in good numbers,” Pilot said.

Gehlot met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on November 11 and handed over the resignation of three incumbent ministers – Raghu Sharma, Harish Choudhary and Dotasra – to Governor Kalraj Mishra on November 20.

The three stepped down since the Congress wanted to implement the ‘one person, one post’ formula. While Dotasra is the party’s state unit chief, Chaudhary and Sharma are All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of Gujarat and Punjab, respectively.

The Cabinet reshuffle, seen to end the infighting within the Congress in Rajasthan, comes shortly before the Gehlot-led regime completes its three years in office.

The party has decided to realign the state Council of Ministers days after it posted a strong performance in the bypolls to two Assembly seats. The ruling Congress had retained the Vallabhnagar constituency and wrested Dhariawad from the BJP. The victory strengthened the Congress’ tally in the 200-member Assembly to 108 seats.

The reshuffle is also planned in view of the Assembly elections just two years away. All three junior ministers who are being elevated – T Bhajanlal Jathav, Mamta Bhupesh and Tikaram Jully – belong to Scheduled Castes. There will be three ministers from Scheduled Tribes – Govind Ram Meghwal, Ramesh Meena and Murarilal Meena.

Also, read :Explained | Why the much-awaited Rajasthan cabinet expansion has left CM Ashok Gehlot in a quandary

Congress is working under leadership of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi & Priyanka Gandhi. Party workers will have to work together to bring forth misdeeds of BJP before people. There are no factions in party. The decisions (of cabinet reshuffle) have been taken together: Sachin Pilot

— ANI (@ANI) November 21, 2021

One BSP MLA who had joined the Congress, Rajendrasingh Gudha, will find a place in the Council as a minister of state.

The ministers will meet at the Pradesh Congress Committee office at 2pm today from where they will go to the Raj Bhawan for the oath-taking ceremony. Additionally, seven MLAs may be inducted as advisors to the CM and 15 others will be made parliamentary secretaries, according to sources.

There can be 30 ministers in Rajasthan, including Chief Minister Gehlot. There were nine vacancies earlier and following the resignation of the three, 12 ministerial slots were to be filled.

Pilot was sacked as the deputy chief minister by Gehlot in July last year, after he launched a rebellion. A month later, however, he met former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and agreed to a truce.
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