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    Tents In, Raj Bhawan on Standby for 3 Days, But No Rajasthan Cabinet in Sight Yet | Decoding the Delay

    Tents In, Raj Bhawan on Standby for 3 Days, But No Rajasthan Cabinet in Sight Yet | Decoding the Delay


    Ever since Bhajan Lal Sharma took oath as the new chief minister of Rajasthan on December 15, he has made two trips to the national capital to meet the BJP’s top brass.

    Sources say the new administration informed Raj Bhawan to start preparations for oath taking of the ministers by this Monday. News18 has learnt that the Governor’s House immediately made logistical arrangements.

    In fact, tents are already in for the event. There was massive speculation that it would take place on Wednesday, which did not happen. Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot took potshots at the BJP by highlighting “despair” in the absence of a Cabinet even after three weeks of sweeping to power.

    So, what is stopping the BJP from going ahead with the new Cabinet formation?

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    When asked, BJP state president CP Joshi said: “You will get to know the details about it (cabinet formation) very soon.” Pressed for the names or number of ministers, Joshi said: “You will be informed as finer details emerge”.

    But BJP sources in Jaipur point fingers at the “central leadership”. A senior BJP leader who has won this time and is tipped to be a cabinet member told News18 on the condition of anonymity: “Our job here is done. The core committee met and sent out a draft list of 30 names to New Delhi. We thought a nod would come by Wednesday. But that hasn’t happened. We will have to wait now.” The source in BJP added that more than two dozen ministers will be taking oath whenever the nod comes.

    Meanwhile, a Rajput leader of the Rajasthan BJP told News18 that the names that have been sent are a mix of youth and old horses. However, he added that Sharma has been keen on giving importance to the younger leadership. The chief minister himself is 56 years old while his two deputies, Diya Kumari and Prem Chand Bairwa, are 52 and 54 years old respectively. Sharma, the source added, is keen that his cabinet also reflects that age bracket.

    “I think the delay on the part of the top leadership is to ensure that there is no ego clash between the senior leadership and the young brigade. With Lok Sabha elections round the corner, no one wants that,” the second source added.

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    Madan Dilawar from Kota’s Ramgang Mandi, Sumerpur MLA and only Kumawat leader who has won Joraram Kumawat, Jogeshwar Garg from Jallore, and tallest Meena leader Kirodi Lal Meena are widely considered to be frontrunners for the cabinet post. Meanwhile, MP turned Tijara MLA Mahant Balaknath, Rajasmand MLA Dipti Maheshwari, Degana MLA Ajay Singh, and Bikaner’s Sumit Godara are some of the names considered to be frontrunners for the post of Minister of State.

    Another reason for the delay is supposedly to ensure a fine balance among different castes so that it doesn’t communicate the message to any communities that they have been “ignored”. Intense lobbying has been underway for the last few weeks by Rajputs, Brahmins, Gujjars, Meenas, and Jats.

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    In a caste-sensitive society like Rajasthan, BJP knows the importance of not being seen to hurt any segment. In 2018, BJP lost its traditional support base of Rajputs which they managed to win back this time by sweeping Mewar. Similarly, there are 10 Brahmin MLAs this time. Now, they want a fair share of their community in Rajasthan’s power circuit.

    Ironing out the nuanced nitty-gritties may take a while for BJP chief JP Nadda. “We will have to wait till then. As of now, we know as much as you guys (media) know. The moment a nod comes, you will know immediately. Till then, all MLAs have been advised to stay put in their constituencies they have won from instead of huddling in Jaipur,” said the senior BJP source, himself hoping for a cabinet berth.



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