Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati on Friday described the cabinet expansion of the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan as a "deception" by the Congress to arrest the "declining support of the people".
"To arrest the declining support of the people, the Congress made a Dalit chief minister of Punjab and in Rajasthan, some Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe members have been made ministers. This is similar to the expansion of the Union council of ministers by the BJP to project themselves as well-wishers. This is just depection," Mayawati said in a tweet in Hindi.
Fifteen ministers, including 12 new faces, took oath on Sunday in Jaipur, fulfilling a key demand of former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot whose rebellion last year shook the state's Congress government.
The list included three ministers of state, all Dalits, from the old team who were elevated to the cabinet rank. The Congress also made room for an MLA who had switched over from the Bahujan Samaj Party.
In another tweet, she said, "The Congress has neglected Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. Far from giving him respect and honouring him with the Bharat Ratna, these casteist parties have always neglected and despised him. Then how can these parties be true well-wishers of SCs, STs and OBCs?"
Chief Minister Gehlot told reporters after the oath-taking ceremony that representation has been given to all, be it scheduled tribes, scheduled castes, backward classes or minorities. He said that portfolios will be allotted while keeping in mind preparations for the assembly elections in 2023.