In Congress veteran Ashok Gehlot’s team in Rajasthan, 18 first-time ministers
Pilot said the formation of the cabinet reflects a balance between age and experience, caste and different geographical regionsUpdated: Dec 24, 2018 21:49 IST
A 23-member council of ministers was sworn in on Monday as Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot expanded his cabinet, with 17 of them being first-timers.
Of the 23 ministers, 22 are from the Congress and one from its electoral ally, Rashtriya Lok Dal. Including Gehlot and deputy CM Sachin Pilot, there are 25 ministers and five spots have been left vacant for future rejigs.
After the swearing-in, Gehlot, Pilot, Rajasthan in-charge Avinash Pande and co-incharge Vivek Bansal held a meeting. Pande and Bansal then left for Delhi with the proposed portfolios. Party sources said Gandhi will give the final stamp of approval to the portfolios.
Pilot said the formation of the cabinet reflects a balance between age and experience, caste and different geographical regions. “It is a balanced cabinet. We have a lot of people who are being given chance for the first time and also some who got experience in earlier Congress governments. So it is a balance between geographical regions, different communities, and between experience and age,” he said.
Given the weightage to young faces, many seniors were left out. Some senior names missing from the cabinet are CP Joshi, Mahendrajit Singh Malviya, Rajendra Pareek, Deependra Singh, Mahesh Joshi, Brijendra Ola, Jitendra Singh, Bharat Singh, Hemaram Chaudhary and Parasram Mordia. Some of them are likely to contest Lok Sabha polls while others can be inducted in the next cabinet expansion.
Shanti Dhariwal, Kota North MLA, is the seniormost minister at 75 years while Ashok Chandna, elected from Hindoli (Bundi), is the youngest at 34 years.
The cabinet saw representation to all communities in view of the Lok Sabha elections but could not maintain regional and gender balance, analysts said.
There is only one woman in the cabinet. Keeping in mind the Lok Sabha elections and social engineering, there are four Jats, four SCs, three STs, three Banias, two Brahmins, two Rajputs, two Gurjars, one Mali, one Bishnoi, one Yadav and one Anjana Patel and one Muslim in the cabinet.
Of the 33 districts, 19 have been represented in the cabinet while 14 ignored. There are three ministers from Jaipur district, three from Bharatpur, two each from Dausa and Bikaner, and one each from Alwar, Churu, Chittorgarh, Jalore, Bundi, Ajmer Kota, Barmer, Karauli, Jaisalmer, Sikar, Banswara and Baran. Gehlot represents Jodhpur district while Pilot was elected from Tonk.
Political analyst Narayan Bareth said the women’s representation was insufficient, given the emphasis on this by Congress president Rahul Gandhi has stressed on this. “The ministry also seemed to have regional imbalance as around 13 districts have not been represented.”
On the newcomers, Bareth said “The inclusion of first-timers is a positive move as it will help develop a new leadership politically and administratively. It’s a tactical move and they can always re-evaluate based on the performance of the ministers.”
He, however, said the tussle between Gehlot and Pilot was sending a negative message. “If this continues, it will be a problem and it will also affect the administration.”
BJP spokesperson Mukesh Pareek said, “Looks like Delhi is giving direction to CM and deputy CM on everything. This is not in the interest of the state. The right to cabinet formation vests with the CM but they had to go to the Delhi Durbar to get clearance. It seems like Delhi will run the Rajasthan government through remote control.”
In the run-up to the cabinet formation, Gehlot and Pilot had spent a couple of days in Delhi lobbying for their men and to get Rahul Gandhi’s approval. The oath taking took place after this.
The infighting also came to the fore during ticket distribution ahead of the elections and during the selection of the chief minister when state leaders and incharges had to keep dashing off to Delhi to seek the high command’s intervention to sort matters.
Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh administered the oath of office and secrecy to the ministers at the Raj Bhawan. There are 13 ministers of cabinet rank and 10 ministers of state. All the ministers took oath in Hindi.
The cabinet ministers are BD Kalla, Shanti Dhariwal, Parsadi Lal Meena, Bhanwar Lal Meghwal, Lalchand Kataria, Raghu Sharma, Pramod Jain, Vishvendra Singh, Harish Chaudhary, Ramesh Chand Meena, Udai Lal Anjana, Pratap Singh Khachariyawas and Saleh Mohammed.
Kalla is a six-time MLA from Bikaner West seat and has been a former education minister. Dhariwal is a former home and UDH minister.
Parsadi Lal Meena is a six-time MLA from Lalsot and a two-time former minister while Bhanwarlal Meghwal has been a former education minister and represents Lalsot seat. Jain too has been a former minister.
The ministers of state are Govind Singh Dotasara, Mamta Bhupesh, Arjun Bamaniya, Bhanwar Singh Bhati, Sukhram Bishnoi, Ashok Chandna, Tikaram Juli, Bhajanlal Jatav, Rajendra Yadav and Dr Subhash Garg (RLD).