Ashok Gehlot
Ashok Gehlot
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Jaipur: As the Congress government completes two years in power in Rajasthan, the long-awaited cabinet reshuffle, political postings and organisational appointments are expected soon.

Since the Congress came to power in December 2018, it has been embroiled in a political tussle between chief minister Ashok Gehlot and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot. Earlier this year, Pilot raised a banner of revolt against Gehlot's leadership.

The political crisis and the Covid pandemic has long delayed the cabinet reshuffle and political appointments.

But with the BJP predicting the fall of the Congress government in a few months and Congress MLAs getting restless, party sources say that new appointments can be expected this month end or by January 2021.

Congress MLAs, those senior Congress leaders who were overlooked for a cabinet berth during government formation and those independent legislators who stood by the Congress during the political crisis as well as the six BSP MLAs who merged their party with the Congress are all waiting for their share in power.

The Congress has a total of 121 MLAs. Of these, there are 105 Congress MLAs, 13 independents, two BTP MLAs and one RLD MLA.

Of the 121, there are currently 21 ministers. Party sources say the plan is to accommodate the remaining 100 MLAs on various posts.

The maximum number of cabinet ministers can be 30. The current strength is 21, so nine legislators will be taken in the cabinet. Ten legislators will be made parliamentary secretaries, two will be made assembly speaker and deputy speaker, two will be accommodated as chief whip and deputy chief whip.

While 16 MLAs will be appointed as civic body chairmen and 21 will be made heads of various assembly committees, another 40 will be accommodated as heads of various boards and commissions in the state.

The Congress organisation too has to be rebuilt. The state executive and district and block units were disbanded after Pilot was removed as state party chief. Though Govind Dotasara has been appointed as the new party president, he has not yet made appointments at the organisation level.

The death of Congress leader Ahmed Patel also came as a setback. Patel was a member of the three-member committee that was set-up to look into grievances voiced by the Pilot camp and to settle differences between Pilot and Gehlot.

It remains to be seen if Pilot's grievances are addressed and his supporters are accommodated in the organisation and the government.

Sources said Rajasthan incharge Ajay Maken during his two visits to Jaipur has discussed the political appointments, selection of functionaries in the organisation and the cabinet reshuffle with Gehlot and Dotasara.

A small team of 39 district presidents and a 50-member state executive committee is likely to be appointed. This will comprise of 10-12 vice presidents and an equal number of general secretaries and the rest would be secretaries.

The lack of an organisational set-up has been felt in the civic body and panchayat elections and all party programmes have come to a stop. So the party wants to first focus on strengthening the organisation.

Dotasara said discussions on the appointments have been held with party leaders and appointments are likely to be made by the end of December.

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Free Press Journal