Bharatpur-tainted minister stays as Gehlot drops five
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Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced his new Cabinet on Wednesday, dropping five ministers and taking in six new ones.
While Mahipal Maderna had been sacked earlier after being named in the Bhanwari Devi disappearance case, those who have been shown the door include Environment Minister Ram Lal Jat, Motor Garage Minister Bharosilal Jatav, Education Minister Bhanwarlal Meghwal, PWD Minister Pramod Jain and Khadi and Gram Udyog Minister Golma Devi. Amongst those who remain unaffected despite negative public opinion are Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal and Food Minister Babulal Nagar.
While there have been demands to drop Dhariwal since the Bharatpur riots, Nagar faces at least two charges of corruption, including an order from the Prime Minister's Office to the state Anti-Corruption Bureau to conduct an inquiry against him.
Making a re-entry is another controversial minister, Amin Khan, who was early this year forced to resign after some statements about President Pratibha Patil.
The five other new ministers are Virender Beniwal and Dayaram Parmar as MoS with independent charge, and Manju Meghwal, Naseem Akhtar and Vinod Chowdhary as MoS.
Raghu Sharma was named the new Chief Whip with Cabinet rank status while Information and Public Relations Minister Ashok Bairwa was elevated to Cabinet status.
Interestingly, Kaman MLA Zahida, against whom FIRs had been filed following Bharatpur riots, has also been inducted as Parliamentary Secretary, along with six others. Senior Congress leaders admitted a bid to balance the fragile caste equations through the new inductees, particularly overtures to the Jats, Muslims and Dalits.
The Jat community, already unhappy at Maderna's removal, would not have taken kindly to Ram Lal Jat being shown the door too.
The Dalits are angry with the government over the Bhanwari Devi case while SCs had to be appeased over the sacking of Jatav. The inclusion of two Muslims in the Cabinet, it is hoped, would offset the ire caused by the death of 10 Meo Muslims in the Bharatpur riots.
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