Rajasthan Cabinet expanded: 15 ministers sworn in, Congress sets eyes on Assembly elections

Of the 15 names who were sworn in on Sunday to the Ashok Gehlot government, seven come from the SC/ST category including four SC and three ST MLAs.

A total of 15 ministers, including 11 Cabinet minsters and four Ministers of State were sworn into the Ashok Gehlot government on Sunday by Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra.

The Cabinet rejig comes about 16 months after the then-deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot led a rebellion with the support of 18 MLAs against the government. Pilot on Sunday, however, hailed the reshuffle, stating that the move has sent a “good message” across the state. He said the representation of Dalits, tribals, women and minorities has increased in the new council.

Adding that he will take on whatever responsibility the party high command entrusts upon him, Pilot asserted that there is no division or factionalism within Congress. As a peace formula, the new Cabinet accommodates five of the Pilot loyalists.

Ramesh Meena and Vishwendra Singh, who were sacked last year, have returned to the Ministry as Cabinet minsters along with Hemaram Choudhary. Brijendra Singh Ola and Murarilal Meena have made an entry as Ministers of State. Besides the duo, Zahida and Rajendra Singh Gudha were sworn in as MoS.

Meanwhile, Mamta Bhupesh Bairwa, Bhajanlal Jatav and Tikaram Jully, who were earlier state ministers, have now been elevated to cabinet rank.

Mahendra Jeet Singh Malviya, Ramlal Jat, Mahesh Joshi, Govind Ram Meghwal and Shakuntala Rawat, too, were instated as Cabinet ministers.

Ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle, CM Gehlot set eyes on the Assembly elections, stating that Congress will again form the government in Rajasthan in 2023. Taking to Twitter, the chief minister congratulated all the newly-appointed ministers and stated that together they will maintain the trust the public has shown in the party in bypolls and local body elections.

The reshuffle has seen an increase in  SC/ST category. Congress sources said this has also been done keeping in mind the 2023 Assembly elections, wherein the party will hope to repeat its performance in 2018. The Congress had won the majority of the Assembly seats reserved for SC and ST categories helping it go ahead of the BJP.

Of the 15 names who were sworn in on Sunday, seven come from the SC/ST category including four SC and three ST MLAs. The three state ministers, who have now been promoted as cabinet ministers, are all Dalit faces of the Cabinet.

Overall, three women are now part of the Gehlot government. “There was indeed a need to increase the participation of women in the cabinet. I am happy that two new faces will be inducted,” Bhupesh said.

The Cabinet will now function at its maximum strength of 30 ministers.

With PTI inputs

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