First Cabinet expansion in Rajasthan expected in couple of days: BJP sources

Rajasthan, which has 200 assembly seats, can have a maximum of 30 ministers, including the chief minister.

Jaipur: The first Cabinet expansion in Rajasthan is expected to take place in a couple of days and its inductees will be a mix of young and experienced leaders, sources in the BJP said on Sunday.

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First-time MLA Bhajan Lal Sharma was sworn-in as the chief minister earlier this month along with Diya Kumari and Prem Chand Bairwa as his deputies.

Rajasthan, which has 200 assembly seats, can have a maximum of 30 ministers, including the chief minister.

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“The first expansion of the Cabinet is expected on Monday or Tuesday, and around 15 MLAs are likely to be inducted in the Council of Ministers,” a source in the BJP said.

The Cabinet is expected to have a mix of young and experienced legislators as its members, the sources said.

They added that among the probables for Cabinet posts are Baba Balaknath, Shailesh Singh, Nauksham Chaudhary, Sandeep Sharma, Jawahar Singh Bedam and Mahant Praptap Puri.

Chief Minister Sharma had recently met BJP president J P Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and others in Delhi, and it is believed that he discussed matters related to Cabinet expansion with them.

Since, the chief minister and his two deputies were elected as MLAs from constituencies in Jaipur district, the sources said, it is expected that ministers will be from other parts of the state.

While Sharma represents Sanganer in the assembly, Diya Kumar and Bairwa are legislators from Vidhyadhar Nagar and Dudu, respectively.

“The strategy will be to maintain a balance between representation of castes and regions in the Cabinet. It is likely that most ministers would be in the 40-55 years age bracket,” the source said.

“It will be an energetic team. Ever since the decision to appoint Bhajan Lal Sharma was taken, there has been enthusiasm among party workers and leaders, who believe that a dedicated worker can be elevated to a higher post,” the source said.

With the Cabinet expansion, government works will also pick up pace.

On Friday, the finance department had directed all departments to not invite fresh tenders for works till further orders and had said all such works will start after the approval of the government.

The government has also asked its departments to not release work orders till further directions, if a work order has not been released after inviting tenders.

In an order, Additional Chief Secretary Akhil Arora has also directed departments to put new works on hold if the work has not already started for a project.

“All administrative departments have been asked to adhere to the directions in the situation of administrative and financial approval given in the past. The departments have been asked that all such approvals should be brought into the notice of chief minister or departmental ministers and the work will be allowed only after their approval,” the order read.

The 10 key priorities of the BJP government in Rajasthan include stetting up Mahila police stations in every district and Mahila Desks in all police stations, formation of an anti-romeo squad in major cities and creating a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe various cases, including government recruitment examination paper leak cases.

Establishing regional heritage centres at an investment of Rs 6,800 crore, providing free education to all girl students from KG to PG and investing Rs 2,000 crore in the tourism sector to generate employment opportunities for five lakh youths through training are the other priorities.

The SIT to investigate paper leak cases and the anti-gangster task force have been formed on the instructions of the chief minister.

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