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Rajasthan Cabinet Expansion: CM, Governor meet raises expectation

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The meeting of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot with Governor Kalraj Mishra has resulted in speculations regarding an expansion of the state Cabinet. The expansion of the Cabinet is long due, but with the civic polls in 90 local bodies around-the-corner, whether the CM will wait till the end of this month for expansion is to be seen.

The meeting between Gehlot and the Governor was a courtesy call. Recently, when the Congress staged a protest against the farm laws outside the Raj Bhawan, the chief minister was to lead the agitation. However, Gehlot changed his mind and opted out as it would have sent a wrong message.

In the Congress circle, it is speculated that Gehlot would do the reshuffle of the cabinet before the budget session. He would be keen to appoint 10 new faces in the Cabinet and some non-performing minister will certainly have to go. These are mainly ministers of state. The CM is likely to change the portfolios of some ministers, depending on their performances.

Scope for nine more ministers

The Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha has a strength of 200 and only 15 per cent could be appointed as ministers meaning the Cabinet cannot have more than 30 members. Currently, there are 21 Cabinet and ministers of state and there are nine vacancies. While Sachin Pilot and two other Cabinet ministers Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena were sacked during the political crisis last year, they have returned to the party fold and now they will have to be accommodated.

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The vacancy caused by the death of Cabinet minister Bhanwar Lal Meghwal also has to be filled.

The CM will also have to accommodate the MLAs from the BSP, who merged with the Congress. Similarly, three Independents, who supported Gehlot during the crisis, will also have to be accommodated.

Rajasthan CM to shed some departments

There are a large number of aspirants and it is likely that some MLAs will be accommodated as parliamentary secretaries.

The Chief Minister himself has 18 departments with him and he might shed some of his burdens by allotting the portfolios to some Cabinet and minister of states.

Rajasthan will also witness three bye-elections for which the dates have not been announced.

 

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