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Raje expands ministry with an eye on elections

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje has expanded her council of ministers by inducting six new faces

jaipur Updated: Dec 10, 2016 22:22 IST
HT Correspondent
Newly inducted ministers pose for a group photo with governor Kalyan Singh and chief minister Vasundhara Raje after the swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Jaipur on Saturday.
Newly inducted ministers pose for a group photo with governor Kalyan Singh and chief minister Vasundhara Raje after the swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Jaipur on Saturday. (PTI)

Chief minister Vasundhara Raje on Saturday expanded her council of ministers by inducting six new faces, taking the strength of her ministry to 30 from existing 26.

She also dropped two ministers of state, Jeetmal Khant and Arjun Lal Garg, and promoted junior ministers for cooperative Ajay Singh Kilak and transport Babu Lal Verma to cabinet rank.

Khant and Lal had earlier submitted their resignations to the chief minister.

The chief minister tried to balance regional and caste equations in the ministry rejig done on the eve of the third anniversary of her government, ostensibly with an eye on the assembly elections.

Of the six new ministers, Shrichand Kriplani, the legislator from Nimbahera in Chittorgarh district and Dr Jaswant Yadav an MLA from Behror in Alwar district took oath as cabinet ministers.

Banshidhar Bajiya, an MLA from Khandela in Sikar district; Kamsa Meghwal, an from Bhopalgarh in Jodhpur district; Dhan Singh Rawat, from Banswara and Sushil Katara, a legislator from Chorasi in Dungarpur district have been inducted as minister of states.

All of them took oath in Hindi at the swearing in ceremony held at the Raj Bhawan. Governor Kalyan Singh administered the oath of office.

Kriplani and Yadav are three-time MLAs, while Meghwal, Bajiya and Katara are second-time legislators. Rawat made to the ministry in his first tenure as a legislator.

The number of ministers in the state as per the 91st amendment to the Constitution cannot exceed 30, which is 15 percent of the total strength of the assembly.

Five new parliamentary secretaries were also administered oath of office. They are Om Prakash Hudla, an MLA from Mahwa in Dausa district; Kailash Verma, a legislator from Bagru in Jaipur district; Narendra Nagar from Khanpur in Jhalawar district; Shatrughan Gautam from Kekri in Ajmer district and Bhima Bhai, an MLA from Kushalgarh in Banswara district.

Hectic parleys were held in Delhi, Jaipur and Dholpur between Raje, state BJP president Ashok Parnami, party’s state in-charge V Satish and the central leadership in the run up to the cabinet expansion.