All is not well within the Congress-led government in Rajasthan despite Sunday's Cabinet expansion.
Now Independent MLA Ramkesh Meena, the newly-appointed advisor to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, has launched a scathing attack on former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot, saying that Congress will suffer in Rajasthan because of Pilot.
“The Congress will suffer huge losses if the party imposes Pilot on Rajasthan and contests the 2023 Assembly elections under his leadership. I shall speak openly against the proposal and will also go to the Congress high command to apprise them of the fact that the party will lose its ground in the state if Pilot leads it. I will not support the party in that case,” Meena said.
It needs to be mentioned here that Pilot had strongly objected to the induction of Independent and BSP MLAs into the Cabinet, saying that the party workers who worked hard to form the government should be rewarded and not those who contested against Congress candidates in the elections.
As a result of the Pilot camp’s objection to the induction of Independent MLAs into the Cabinet, the MLAs supporting the Gehlot government could not be included in it.
However, to make things smooth, three Independent MLAs, including Ramkesh, Sanyam Lodha and Babulal, have been appointed as advisors to Gehlot. The CM now has six advisors.
Meena also said that now that the Congress high command has accepted the demand of Pilot by allotting portfolios to leaders from his camp in the Cabinet, he should leave Rajasthan.
Meena said that in the 2018 Assembly elections, the Congress suffered a loss of 50 seats because of Pilot’s presence. Had the charge been with Gehlot, Congress could have won 150 seats, he said, adding that if Pilot remains in the state, the party will suffer losses in the 2023 Assembly elections as well.
During the political crisis in Rajasthan last year, 13 Independent MLAs stood by Gehlot and saved the government. However, none of them have not found a place in the Cabinet.
Gehlot had recently said that the cooperation of these MLAs can never be forgotten. However, now there seems to be disappointment among them, as they have been left out of the state Cabinet.
Meanwhile, after the cabinet expansion, new portfolios were distributed to Rajasthan ministers in the Ashok Gehlot government on Monday.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has kept 10 departments with himself which include Finance, Taxation, Home and Justice, Personnel, IT, General Administration, Cabinet Secretariat, NRI, Rajasthan State Investigation Bureau and Information Public Relations Department.
The education department earlier held by Govind Singh Dotasra has been given to B.D. Kalla.
Dotasra is now holding PCC president position in Rajasthan. Earlier, with education, he had dual posts.
The health department with Raghu Sharma has been given to Parsadi Lal Meena. Raghu Sharma is new in-charge of Gujarat.
Cabinet minister Shanti Dhariwal, known to be close to Gehlot, has retained his earlier departments of UDH, Parliamentary Affairs, Legal etc.
Mamta Bhupesh became cabinet minister after being promoted from minister of state. She has the same women and child development department as before.
Agriculture ministry remains with Lalchand Kataria, Mines and ‘Gopalan’ are with Pramod Jain Bhaya, Cooperatives is with Udai Lal Anjana and Minority Welfare Department is with Saleh Mohammad.
Minister of State Ashok Chandna has sports, youth affairs as earlier. Information Public Relations Department is a new addition which is with the Chief Minister.
Pratap Singh Khachariyawas has been given food department instead of transport, Parsadi Lal Meena has been given health department instead of industry.
Tikaram Juli has been given Social Justice and Empowerment Department instead of Labour after being promoted to cabinet and Bhajan Lal Jatav has been given an important department like PWD instead of Home Guard.
Among the ministers of state, the portfolios of Bhanwar Singh Bhati, Rajendra Yadav, Sukhram Bishnoi have been changed. Bhati has been given energy, water resources and IGNP (Indira Gandhi Canal Project) instead of higher education. Sukhram Bishnoi has been given Labour and Revenue Department instead of Forest.
The Social Justice Department has been given to Tikaram Juli. This department was earlier with the late Master Bhanwarlal.
Vishvendra Singh who was stripped off his portfolios after rebellion with Pilot, has been given back tourism department. He has also been given the civil aviation department. (IANS)