30 Dec 2023

Rajasthan: Bhajan Lal Cabinet expanded but who emerged as a surprising addition to ministerial lineup? What Ashok Gehlot said?

The Bhajan Lal-led BJP government in Rajasthan finally expanded its Council of Ministers on Saturday after a prolonged anticipation, appointing a total of 22 ministers.

Among them are twelve cabinet ministers, including Dr. Kirodi Lal Meena and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who transitioned from the role of MP to MLA. Additionally, ten ministers of state, including five with independent charge, have been appointed.

Governor Kalraj Mishra officiated the oath of office for all the ministers at Raj Bhavan. Notably, Surendra Pal Singh TT, the BJP candidate from Karanpur in Sriganganagar district, emerged as a surprising addition to the ministerial lineup.

Surendra Pal Singh TT, who is set to contest elections on January 5, assumed the role of Minister of State. This unexpected appointment just before the upcoming poll has raised eyebrows.

The elections for 199 out of 200 seats in the Rajasthan Assembly took place on November 25. However, the elections for the Karanpur seat were postponed following the demise of Congress candidate Gurmeet Singh Coonoor.

Surendra Pal Singh, currently engaged in an election campaign, temporarily suspended his activities in Jaipur on Saturday morning to take the oath of office at the Raj Bhavan.

Violation of the code of conduct: Gehlot

Former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot wrote on Twitter, "Despite the code of conduct being effective for the voting to be held on January 5 in Srikaranpur, making the BJP candidate a minister from there is a clear violation of the code of conduct and an attempt to influence the voters there."

Gehlot said, "The Election Commission should take cognizance of this and take immediate action. Taking such unconstitutional steps is unfortunate in a democracy. It shows the arrogance of the BJP high command."

Rajasthan Congress state president Govind Dotasra said, "The arrogance of the Bharatiya Janata Party is at its peak. They neither believe in the Constitution, nor follow the law, nor listen to the voice of democracy. More than 140 MPs were expelled from the Lok Sabha also. Their views were not listened to."

Who is Surendra Pal Singh?

Surendra Pal Singh TT is a veteran leader of BJP. Chairman of Rajasthan Warehousing with cabinet rank in 1994. Before becoming Minister of State in the Bhajan Lal Sharma government, he was the Agriculture Minister in the Vasundhara Raje Scindia government (2003-2008). Subsequently served as Minister of Mines and Petroleum (2013–2018).

In the Rajasthan Assembly elections 2018, Surendra Pal Singh lost the election from Karanpur seat to Gurmeet Singh Kooner of Congress by a margin of 28,376 votes. After being made the Minister of State, Surendra Pal Singh TT, while talking to the media, said that BJP has honored the voters of Karanpur by making him a minister.

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