A Cabinet expansion is on the cards in Rajasthan where the ruling Congress is staring at another round of infighting. Sources told India TV that as many as 10 new faces could join the government, adding that five ministers could be dropped.
Speaking to reports in Jaipur, Ajay Maken, Rajasthan Congress' in charge, said that a decision has been taken to constitute district Congress committees and appointments in the state. Maken said that he met the MLAs during his two-day visit and sought their feedback on cabinet expansion and the performance of the government. He will submit a report to the party's central leadership and a decision on Cabinet expansion will be taken accordingly.
"In the last three days, I spoke to all MLAs and party leaders in Rajasthan and discussed how we can work for the upcoming state elections and retain our position here. We will soon appoint district & block-level chiefs in the state," Maken said. He met 115 MLAs during his two-day visit to the state.
Maken's visit to Rajasthan was seen as a bid by the Congress' leadership to end factionalism that is brewing within the party. Sachin Pilot, the former deputy CM and state unit chief of the party, has been demanding to accommodate his men in the government and organisation for a long time. He recently dropped hints that all is not well in the party as his long-standing demands are not being given due consideration by the party leadership despite repeated assurance.
Notably, Pilot skipped the dinner party hosted by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday. Gehlot had called party MLAs at his Jaipur residence which was attended by Maken and MLAs loyal to his camp.
Pilot had last year revolted against Gehlot, leading to a crisis that was put to rest after an intervention by the central leadership. Pilot was even sacked from the post of deputy CM and RPCC chief. Pilot was then assured that his concerns would be taken into account and a committee was set up to look into his grievances.
Congress came to power in the state in December 2018 and has completed almost half its term. The party has 106 MLAs in the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly. Apart from this, the government has the support of 13 independent MLAs.