Raje delays R'than cabinet expansion, upsets leaders

Raje delays R'than cabinet expansion, upsets leaders

Some MLAs blame this for party's defeat in by-elections

The much awaited cabinet expansion in Rajasthan has become a bone of contention for Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and other senior party leaders. 

The delay in cabinet expansion has not only brewed resentment among party legislators, but is also leading some MLAs to consider it as one of the reasons for party’s defeat in Assembly by-elections recently.

“With a majority of 160 MLAs, only 12 ministers including Raje are running the government for the last 10 months. Resentment among other MLAs is apparent,” said a legislator from Jaipur. 

According to party insiders, there are several reasons behind the delay in cabinet expansion, of which internal party politics and deadlock with RSS are predominant.

“There are rumours that RSS wants to adjust around four to six Sangh loyalists in the state cabinet,” said a BJP leader.

“However, Raje is not very keen to accommodate so many leaders and has objection over some of those names,” the leader said.

Deadlock

This deadlock is one of the reasons for the delay in cabinet expansion, he added.Sources say that the Chief Minister wants a small cabinet with further scope for expansion.

Not only it will ensure her direct control, but she will also be able to continue with her carrot and stick policy in the party.

Ambiguity over the fate of senior leaders like Ghanshyam Tiwari, Narpat Singh Rajvie and Rao Rajendra Singh is yet another reason for this delay.

The three firebrand leaders are known to have taken anti-government stand on several occasions in past.

Under pressure

However, local leadership is under immense pressure to give them cabinet berths. “Party will have to give them important responsibilities, be it in government or in organisation,” said a senior party leader.

“ They had some differences in opinion with Raje on several issues in the previous BJP government, and she would never want a similar disturbance again,” the leader said. 

Dropping them from cabinet may lead to strong lobbying by other party dropouts which may dent long-term prospects, he added.   

Cabinet expansion in central government may also play an important role in state politics. 

According to senior leaders, if any MP gets a place in Modi cabinet, other leaders from his area may not get any post in state government.

“Party will certainly adopt such strategy or else aspiration of all 160 legislators will not be handled,” said another senior leader.

 “Besides, top leadership wants more representation of women leaders in the state government. But everyone cannot be satisfied,” the leader added.

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