Raje expands Cabinet, inducts 15 new members

Puts end to 10-month wait, tally of ministers reach 27

After a wait of over 10 months, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje expanded her ministry on Monday by inducting 15 new members in the council of ministers.

This was the first cabinet expansion in the Raje-led BJP government where RSS loyalists and senior leaders have been once again sidelined.After the swearing-in ceremony in Raj Bhawan, the total strength of Raje’s council of ministers went up to 27.

The Cabinet expansion includes induction of four new Cabinet ministers, six new state ministers with independent charge and five new Ministers of State.Surendra Goyal from Pali, Rajpal Singh Shekhawat (Jaipur), Ram Pratap (Hanumangarh) and Kiran Maheshwari (Udaipur) have been sworn in as Cabinet ministers, while legislators like Vasudev Devnani (Ajmer), Amraram (Barmer), Krishnendra Kaur (Bharatpur), Surendra Pal Singh (Ganganagar), Anita Badhel (Ajmer) and Raj Kumar Rinwa (Churu) have been inducted as Ministers of State with independent charge.

Five legislators – Otaram Dewasi, Babul Lal Verma, Pushpendra Singh, Jeet Ram and Arjun Lal – have been alleviated to Minister of State.Sources in BJP said lack of consensus with RSS and top leadership over probable names was the main reason for the delay in Cabinet expansion for last three months.

“The expansion had now become necessary for two reasons. First, the Model Code of Conduct for local body elections can come into force anytime,” said a party leader.
“And, more importantly Sawar Lal Jat, who got elected as an MP and was asked to continue as Irrigation Minister in Raje Cabinet, could not continue for more than six month. His tenure was coming to an end in first week of November,” the leader added.

In all, Raje Cabinet had 12 ministers which was bare minimum to run the government and Raje was handling 47 portfolios alone.With end of Jat’s tenure, Raje is left with 11 ministers, which could have led to a constitutional crisis.

Meanwhile, old guards like Ghanshyam Tiwari, Narpat Singh Rajvie and Rao Rajendra Singh have been again sidelined in the Cabinet expansion.Raje apparently inducted Rajpal Singh Shekhawat to keep all the heavyweights legislators away.

“Most of senior leaders like Ghanshyam Tiwari, Kali Charan, Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, Narpat Singh Rajvie and Rao Rajendra Singh come from Jaipur district,” said another leader.

“Not all leaders from Jaipur can be given cabinet berth. Kali Charan is already the Education Minister. In such a situation, Rajpal was a safe bet to keep all other rivals away,” the leader added.

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