Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma ensured delivery not just promise. In an unprecedented move, he gave Surendra Pal Singh TT berth in his cabinet as state minister independent charge even without him contesting the election. TT is a BJP candidate from Srikaranpur constituency, which is going to polls on January 5. The election at Srikaranpur was rescheduled after the death of Congress candidate Gurmeet Singh Kunnar.
By getting him into the cabinet, Chief Minister Sharma has also ensured that he passes the first litmus test after assuming the CM post. In every probability now TT's minister status will overpower the sympathy wave for Kunnar in the upcoming assembly elections.
Social Engineering by CM Sharma with eye on Lok Sabha poll
For the next litmus test – Lok Sabha Elections – which has a larger manifestation, Chief Minister Sharma and party central leadership have concentrated deeply on social engineering to ensure that all influential castes and communities are represented in the cabinet.
In today's expansion, Chief Minister Sharma inducted 12 cabinet ministers, five state ministers with independent charge and five state ministers. In total, the BJP cabinet now has 25 ministers including the chief minister. Out of them, 20 are first-time ministers, giving the chief minister ample authority and command over his cabinet. It was observed in the oath ceremony also when instead of the chief secretary, the chief minister called upon names of MLAs to take oath. That way he asserted his authority over ministers being indicted in his cabinet.
As far as social engineering is concerned, the BJP has given change to 12 ministers who come from OBC, five from general, three from scheduled tribe and two from scheduled caste.
The maximum representation has been given to Jats. Four out of 12 BJP MLAs from this community have been given a place in the cabinet. These include Kanhaiya Lal Choudhary, Sumit Godara, Jhabar Singh Kharra and Vijay Singh Choudhary.
From the ST quota – ministers like Kirodi Lal Meena, Hemant Meena and Babu Lal Kharari have been included. Among these, two ministers – Hemant Meena and Babulal Kharari have been picked for Udaipur division's tribal constituencies to counter the impact of the Bharat Adivasi Party (BAP), which could pose a major threat to the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
No saffron-clad Baba in ministry
Putting an end to all speculations, Chief Minister Sharma opted not to pick any hard-core Hindutva face – Baba Balaknath, Mahant Pratappuri or Bal Mukund Acharya in the cabinet. Baba Balaknath who was being projected as the prospective chief minister has not been given a cabinet berth. Instead, a sombre Baba Otaram Dewasi, spiritual leader of the Dewasi community, dominant in the Sirohi region has been given a place in the cabinet as state minister. He was also part of Vasundhara Raje as state minister for Cow ministry.
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