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Vasundhara Raje's govt formation a balancing act

HT Correspondents , Hindustan Times  Jaipur, December 10, 2013
First Published: 01:15 IST(10/12/2013) | Last Updated: 12:08 IST(10/12/2013)

Back in power in Rajasthan with a thumping mandate that cut across caste and community, the task of government formation would be an intricate one for chief minister-in-waiting Vasundhara Raje. Accordingly, she has chosen the most auspicious date – December 13 – the day on which she had taken oath in 2003 as well.

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On Monday, as leaders, bureaucrats and party workers poured in at Raje's Civil Lines residence, hectic meetings went on in the backroom to draw up an initial list of ministers who would be taking oath with her.

With the massive win, all 162 elected MLAs expect to be rewarded suitably. And with the Lok Sabha elections barely six months away, Raje will have to factor in caste and regional considerations.

Since the BJP has got support from Jats, Rajputs, Brahmins, Gujjars and OBCs, she has to give due weightage and representation to all. Keeping everyone happy would be no mean balancing act.

And Raje hopes to get a hand from the party's central leadership. For now, a few members would be sworn in and after some months, the cabinet will be expanded, said a senior party leader.

The names doing the rounds include Gulab Chand Kataria – a surprise entry, since Kataria, a RSS man, had been a Raje baiter. He however, had been her trusted aide throughout the campaign. There's also Brahmin and Raje critic Ghanshyam Tiwari.

Others include Prabhulal Saini, a Mali community leader from Anta and minister in her earlier government, former minister from Nagaur Yunus Khan, Kiran Maheshwari from Rajsamand, tribal leader from Udaipur Nandlal Meena, among others.

Raje, in fact, was to visit Delhi on Monday to meet the central leaders. But with certain procedures pending – including her election to the legislature party and meeting with the governor – it is yet to happen.

BJP central leaders Arun Jaitley and Amit Shah are in Jaipur and the initial list of ministers is expected to be drawn up after discussions with them.

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