Cabinet reshuffle and Rajasthan MPs

Union cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday catapulted Rajasthan politics to new heights at the Centre with six MPs from the state making it big in the UPA-II government. Never before have as many parliamentarians from the state found a place in the Union council of ministers. Three of them are first-time MPs. With the latest induction of Bhanwar Jitendra Singh, a first-time MP and close aide of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, as minister of state for home, 30% of the Congress MPs from Rajasthan have been included in the Union government. With two cabinet ministers and four MoS, the increased representation of Rajasthan at Centre is expected to result in augmented development of the desert state. The Congress' state president underlined that besides getting increased representation at the Centre, the Rajasthan MPs have got some of the key portfolios. "This will definitely lead to greater development in Rajasthan," Chandrabhan asserted.
Union commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma, a Rajya Sabha MP from the state, has been given the additional charge of textiles ministry. Union minister for road transport and highways C P Joshi retained his portfolio despite reports suggesting that his powers could be clipped. Union ministers of state Sachin Pilot (communications and IT), Namo Narain Meena (finance) and Mahadev Singh Khandela (tribal affairs) too have retained their portfolio. Joshi and Khandela are first-time MPs. A member of the Alwar royal family, Singh's inclusion in the council of ministers (CoM) is an attempt by the Congress to lure Rajputs, who are considered traditional BJP supporters in the state. Singh is the first Rajput leader from the Congress to become a minister at the Centre in the past 64 years. The five politically important castes from Rajasthan now have a representation in the CoM—Jats (Khandela), Brahmins (Joshi and Sharma), Meenas (Namo Narayan), Gurjars (Pilot) and Rajputs (Singh). "The party has tried to please the major castes by offering their representatives ministerial berths," a former PCC office-bearer said.