Ashok Gehlot’s new-look cabinet was revealed today with 15 new faces. Five Sachin Pilot loyalists are among the 30 state ministers as the big revamp aims to put the differences – that became a public spectacle last year – to rest.
Here are ten points on this big story:
In a balancing act, the Chief Minister this afternoon told party workers: “The contribution to the governance of those who could not be inducted in the cabinet is no less than those who’ve been made ministers today.”
Sachin Pilot, whose open rebellion had plunged the ruling Congress into trouble last year, today presented a united front and insisted that “there are no factions within the party”. “We all work under the leadership of the Gandhis,” he told reporters.
The Congress is gearing up as a team to fight the BJP in 2023 to retain power, Sachin Pilot declared today, as he explained the latest move is aimed at giving equal representation to all the segments in the state, including tribals, Dalits, and women. Four Dalit Ministers have been included in the new cabinet, he said.
Fifteen ministers- 11 cabinet ministers and four junior ministers – took oath today. Among the 11 cabinet ministers are three who have been elevated. The state cabinet can have 30 ministers, including the Chief Minister.
Only three ministers – Govind Singh Dotasra, Harish Chaudhary, and Raghu Sharma – have been dropped while others have been retained.
Vishvendra Singh – a two-time MLA from Deeg-Kumher – and Ramesh Meena – the MLA from Sapotra – made a triumphant return to the state cabinet. They were sacked last year along with Mr Pilot.
Mahendrajit Singh Malviya, Ramlal Jat, Mahesh Joshi, Mamta Bhupesh, Tikaram Julie, Bhajan Lal Jatav, Govind Ram Meghwal and Shakuntala Rawat are the other new faces. Zahida Khan and Rajendra Singh Gudha have been made Ministers of State.
In a prelude to today’s revamp, meetings were held between Mr Pilot and senior Congress leaders in Delhi, including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and party chief Sonia Gandhi. Today Mr Pilot said he was satisfied with the changes.
Sachin Pilot had led the rebellion against Mr Gehlot last year. He had been waiting since then for the Chief Minister to accommodate his supporters in a revised cabinet – a part of the deal struck by the Congress to avoid losing yet another state.
Amid speculation that Mr Pilot may be given a key role to manage the party affairs in Gujarat that votes next year, he told reporters today: “I had met party president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi, we discussed a lot of issues. I carried out all responsibilities given to me by the party in the last 20 years with dedication. In the time to come, I will work wherever the party sends me.”