A total of 15 new ministers were sworn into the cabinet of Rajasthan’s Congress government, which is led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. It was the first cabinet reshuffle since the Gehlot government came to power in 2018. The new cabinet saw the inclusion of five members from the Sachin Pilot camp. Four members of the Dalit community, three of the tribal community, and three women have been inducted in the cabinet.
Hemaram Choudhary, Vishvendra Singh, Ramesh Meena, Brijendra Singh Ola and Murari Lal Meena are the known Pilot camp loyalists that have become part of the Gehlot government. Tonk MLA Pilot, who had revolted against the Gehlot government last year in July, said that the issues he had with the administration have been resolved. After the reshuffle, Pilot addressed the media in Jaipur and said that there is no factionalism within the Congress. “We fought the elections together and formed the government together. We have only one faction in the Congress,” he added.
Expressing his satisfaction with the expansion of the new cabinet, Pilot said that the move has sent a “good message” across the state, especially among Dalits, tribal communities, women, and other minorities, who have always stood by the Congress in the Rajasthan. He said that the representation of Dalits that had been neglected for a long time was much needed and has effectively been fulfilled. He believes that the move will play a big role in the 2023 state assembly election.
Rajasthan Congress in-charge and general secretary Ajay Maken has reportedly played a key role in the cabinet reshuffle. Maken was tasked by the Congress high command in New Delhi to address the issues raised by Sachin Pilot and his camp. He was in Jaipur for the past few weeks and took feedback from all party MLAs on the behalf of the party. He was also in touch with CM Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot.
Earlier in July, Maken arrived in Jaipur and held several meetings with party leaders, including CM Gehlot, to resolve the political turmoil in the state. Political analysts believe that Maken did a decent job in Rajasthan and did not allow for a chaotic Punjab-like situation.
Sunday’s cabinet expansion in Rajasthan has proved that the administration is not a one-man show, and that it cannot be run by one man. The move seems to be a clear message to Gehlot and his camp that the control of the government is still in the hands of high command.
Some experts also believe that the expansion of the cabinet will not end the turf war between Gehlot and Pilot, especially since the latter has reportedly been eyeing the top seat for a long time.
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There were also discussions in the Pilot camp that he would be the CM face in the 2023 assembly election. Pilot may be made in-charge of any state, but he will continue to be active in his home ground of Rajasthan. CM Gehlot has also done this twice before. There is speculation that Pilot could be given the responsibility of being in-charge as general secretary of Uttar Pradesh or any other scheduled to go to polls. Pilot has been tasked to cooperate with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the upcoming UP election.
List of new ministers in Gehlot government:
Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya
Govind Ram Meghwal
Govind Ram Meghwal
Ministers of State
Murari Lal Meena
Rajendra Singh Gudha