Rajasthan: CM Gehlot appoints six legislators as advisors

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who expanded his Cabinet on Sunday further appointed six advisors to help him run the state’s administration

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot

Prakash Bhandari

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who expanded his Cabinet on Sunday further appointed six advisors to help him run the state’s administration. It's for the first time, that the Chief Minister appointed advisors among the legislators, and the six advisors include three Independents, who sided with the Gehlot government by extending their support during the political crisis in the state last year.

Former Cabinet ministers, Dr Jitendra Singh, and Babu Lal Nagar, another former minister Raj Kumar Sharma, Sanyam Lodha, Ramkesh Meena and Danish Abrar have been made advisors. These advisors would be given the privileges of a minister.

The three Independents are Nagar, Lodha, and Ramkesh Meena. Nagar was a minister between 2008 to 2013 in the Gehlot Cabinet, but had to resign because of a sex scandal and was later exonerated by a court verdict. In 2018, Nagar, who is from the SC community contested as an Independent and won from Dudu constituency and after his election, extended support to the Gehlot government.

Lodha is a third-time MLA and was denied the party’s ticket in the 2018 Vidhan Sabha election, but he won as an Independent and later extended support like Nagar to the Gehlot government. He is considered close to Gehlot and has consistently defended the Gehlot government in both Assembly and outside.

Raj Kumar Sharma was a minister between 2013 to 2018 in Gehlot Cabinet and has been a student leader. He comes from the Shekhawati region.

Danish Abrar is a first-time MLA and is the son of former Union minister for state for finance Dr Abrar Ahmed and Yasmin Abrar, who served as MLA as well as the deputy chairperson of the women’s commission.

Now the Chief Minister is to appoint a dozen or little more parliamentary secretaries.

Gehlot earned the accolades from both people and party cadre for his social engineering stance while expanding the Cabinet. Gehlot has taken care that the Dalits and women get their dues and for the first time four Cabinet ministers from the Dalits were appointed. Never before social engineering of this scale was applied in forming the state Cabinet.

Sachin Pilot did not hide his emotions in praising the Chief Minister for making his Cabinet a far more representative of the masses than before.

The expansion was done by giving adequate representation to all the weaker sections and also the women.

The political pundits view the expansion of the Gehlot Cabinet not as a compulsive exercise, but a grand combination of the regional balance and also caste factor. The elected representatives from eastern Rajasthan where the Congress won good number of seats were given their dues in the expansion. The eastern Rajasthan gave Congress 40 out of the 58 seats in the region.

Gehlot handled the affairs with utmost care and ensured that the BSP MLAs who merged with the Congress and the Independents who supported the ruling party in thwarting the onslaught of the BJP to destabilize the government were rewarded.

Gehlot could not make any one of the Independent as a minister, but they would be adjusted as parliamentary secretaries and in other positions. There are 15 Independents, and a majority of them are from the Congress background, who contested and won the last Assembly election and came back to the Congress fold to lend support to the Gehlot government.

Both Gehlot and Sachin Pilot admit that the expansion of the Cabinet was done with the sole purpose of returning to power in 2023. The party which did a grand job in combating the corona pandemic has completed 64 per cent of the promises made in the party’s manifesto in 2018.

Govind Singh Dotaasra said that the BJP was disappointed by the expansion which was done smoothly. Dotasara said that the BJP had been spreading speculation that the Gehlot government would fall like ninepins after the expansion. But on the contrary, the party’s MLAs were happy with such a large representation that it even surprised the BJP.

Gehlot said in politics all those people who do their job honestly and with patience and with no aspiration are rewarded. He said in politics rewards come to those, who are honest in their approach and for whom the party’s interest is of utmost importance.

Lalit Maken however said that the party should aim at returning to power in 2023 and those who have served as ministers should be prepared to strengthen the party for the 2023 Vidhan Sabha poll.

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