Caste main consideration as Rajasthan gets 2 more berths

The Cabinet reshuffle brought good news for Rajasthan with two more ministerial berths for the state, taking its tally to seven. The reshuffle is expected to help the Congress in the Assembly polls slated for next year.

Chandresh Kumari Katoch, MP from Jodhpur, was inducted into the Cabinet as Culture Minister while Lalchand Kataria, MP from Jaipur Rural, became MoS (Defence). Sachin Pilot's elevation to Minister of Company Affairs (independent charge), though an expected move, was another attempt to strengthen the party's hold in the state.

So far, Rajasthan had six ministers. With the resignation of Mahadev Khandela (MoS Tribal Affairs) and induction of Kataria and Kumari, it now has seven: Three Cabinet ministers — C P Joshi (Road and Highways), Chandresh Kumari (Culture) and Anand Sharma (Textiles) — and four MoS — Sachin Pilot (Company Affairs), Bhanwar Jitendra Singh (Sports and Youth Affairs), Namo Narayan Meena (Finance) and Lalchand Kataria (Defence). Both Pilot and Singh have independent charge.

Five politically important castes — Jats (Kataria), Brahmins (Joshi and Sharma), Meenas (Namo Narayan), Gurjars (Pilot) and Rajputs (Singh and Chandresh Kumari) — have had a fair representation. However, what has left the state upset is the lack of representation of Muslims.

Rajasthan elected 20 Congress MPs in 2009 Lok Sabha elections — a jump from four MPs in 2004. The large share of portfolios is seen as a pat on their back. Also, young turks like Pilot and Singh are said to be close aides of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

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