Raje Cabinet to be reshuffled

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Jaipur, Dec 24 (UNI) The BJP leadership, buoyed by success at the hustings in Gujarat, has decided to address party issues in Rajasthan and to effect an overdue reshuffle in the state Council of Ministers this evening.

The state Council of Ministers will be expanded this evening by inducting three to four new members, the BJP state spokesman said here today.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is also likely to drop one or two of her ministerial colleagues, he said.

Besides the, portfolio of some ministers could also be changed, the spokesman added.

The swearing in ceremony is scheduled to be held at the Rajbhawan at 1800 hrs, a Rajbhawan Spokesman told UNI.

The present strength of the council of ministers, including the Chief Minister, is 27. As per the prevailing constitutional provisions three more members could be accommodated in the ministry.

A maximum of 30 members, 15 per cent of the strength of the 200 member state legislative assembly, could be inducted in the ministry.

The expansion of the cabinet was due as there has been no expansion during past three years after the Raje Government was installed on December 8, 2003.

The cabinet expansion drill got a boost when BJP general secretary Gopinath Munde, who is also the incharge of the party's Rajasthan unit, arrived here last evening to hold talks with the Chief Minister and other party leaders over the issue.

Names of senior MLAs Kalicharan Saraf, Surendra Goyal, Nand Lal Meena, former speaker Samarath Lal Meena and former Minister Devi Singh Bhati are being tipped for the ministerial expansion.

Food and Civil Supply Minister Kirodi Lal Meena, who had already sent his resignation, and Minister of State Virendra Meena are tipped as probable dropouts.

The party leadership, including BJP General Secretary Mr Munde, Chief Minister Ms Raje, BJP Treasurer and sitting MP Ramdas Agrawal and BJP state president Dr Mahesh Sharma, held several rounds of discussions here today.

Besides the cabinet expansion, some other organisational issues are also being addressed and some political appointments are also in the offing, the spokesman said.


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