Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday said that the Congress high command will decide when the state Cabinet will be reshuffled, reported The Indian Express. He made the statement after meeting party president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi.
“We have left it [the decision on Cabinet reshuffle] up to the high command,” Gehlot told reporters after returning to Jaipur. “Whatever was inquired from me about Rajasthan, I have briefed.”
The chief minister said that party general secretary Ajay Maken, who is in charge of the state, keeps visiting Rajasthan and has all the necessary information.
“I hope that he talks with Congress president, with Rahul Gandhi... all the conversations that have taken place, they’ll make a decision on that basis and it will be acceptable to all of us,” Gehlot added.
The Cabinet reshuffle has been on the cards since former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot staged a revolt against Gehlot in August last year. The turmoil, however, was resolved.
The Congress had formed a three-member panel comprising party leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ahmed Patel and KC Venugopal to address Pilot’s concerns. However, Pilot and his loyalists have expressed resentment due to the delay in meeting the demands of the faction.
The inclusion of Pilot’s loyalists in the Cabinet was part of the solution to resolve the turmoil, according to ANI.
On Thursday, Pilot said that he believes that decisions on the Cabinet reshuffle will be taken very soon. “The committee constituted by Sonia Gandhi ji about years ago has completed its task and I believe we will soon be in a situation to make a decision.” he added.
Currently, there are 21 members in the council of ministers, including Gehlot, and nine spots are vacant. Rajasthan can have a maximum of 30 ministers.
On Wednesday, Gehlot’s had met party general secretaries Vadra, Maken and Venugopal. Pilot too had met Venugopal.
Maken had said that they discussed the “political situation and roadmap for 2023 elections” in Rajasthan but importantly cleared “confusion on a lot of issues”. He too did not give any specific date for the Cabinet expansion.
Following his meeting with Venugopal, Pilot had said that the Cabinet expansion should be done soon as elections in the state were less than two years away. He had said that the Congress should ensure that the party workers feel represented in the government.
“The Congress workers who sacrificed everything for Congress, who played a very important role in the formation of the government – we politicians give speeches but they go to the booth and hold the Congress flag and fight [for the party] – I demanded that they be given suitable respect and honour,” Pilot had said.