Jaipur, Dec 30 : As many as 22 MLAs took oath as ministers in Rajasthan on Saturday.
The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Raj Bhavan in Jaipur, during which Governor Kalraj Mishra administered oaths to 12 cabinet-rank ministers, five Ministers of State (MoS) with independent charge and five ministers of state. Of them, 17 ministers are first-timers.
Vasundhara Raje was absent from the ceremony.
The first MLA who was administered the oath was Kirodi Lal Meena. He was earlier a Rajya Sabha MP and had contested the Assembly polls from Sawai Madhopur seat to become an MLA.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has also been inducted in the cabinet minister led by Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma.
With Saturday's induction, the number of ministers in the government has now reached 25, including the Chief Minister and his two deputies -- Diya Kumari and Prem Chand Bairwa.
Going by the Assembly's strength of 200, as many as 30 ministers can be accommodated in the state cabinet.
Manju Baghmar, the MLA from Jayal Assembly constituency, was the sole woman legislator who took oath as a minister on the day.
Meena has been considered a vocal ST leader. While being a Rajya Sabha MP, he had actively raked up several issues to corner the then-Congress government in the state.
The second MLA who was administered oath on the day was Gajendra Singh Khinvsar, giving a message of unity as he is believed to be from the Vasundhara Raje camp.
Khinvsar was also a cabinet minister in the previous Vasundhara Raje government and is considered close to Raje.
Apart from solving the political equations of Marwar, the internal equations of the party have also been solved by making him a minister. Khinvsar has an image of a gentle Rajput leader in the party. Having been a minister twice, he has administrative experience.
Next in line was Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. He was the fourth leader from Jaipur to be inducted into the cabinet -- after Chief Minister Sharma, Deputy Chief Ministers Diya Kumari and Prem Chand Bairwa.
Rathore was a minister at the Centre. He was MP twice. By making him a cabinet minister, the BJP has given importance to an emerging face from the Rajput community. He is considered close to the high command.
The next minister who was administered the oath was Babulal Kharadi. By inducting him, a strong message was given to the people of the tribal areas that a common man like him could become a minister.
Kharadi still lives in a kutcha house. Last time, he was chosen as the best MLA of the Rajasthan Assembly.
A strong RSS face, Madan Dilawar is considered as an outspoken Dalit-Hindu face and has also been made a minister. He is also a key Dalit face of the party.
Jogaram Patel was made a minister in an effort to tap the Patel vote bank in the state. He has been a senior lawyer in the High Court. Patel was the Parliamentary Secretary during the Vasundhara Raje government. He is considered well-versed in parliamentary matters.
Suresh Singh Rawat, who was also a Parliamentary Secretary in the Vasundhara Raje government, has become a minister for the first time.
Rawat community in Magra area of Ajmer, Rajsamand has been a traditional voter of the BJP. An attempt has been made to tap the core vote bank by making ministers from this community.
Avinash Gehlot, another first-timer, is a prominent face of the party from the Saini community, which is considered a traditional voter of the BJP. Similarly, Joraram Kumawat of the Kumawat community has been made a cabinet minister. The second-time MLA from Sumerpur in Pali has been associated with Kumawat Sangh. He was also a minister in the Vasundhara Raje government.
The BJP tried to bring back the tribal community to its fold by making Hemant Meena a minister. BJP's performance in the tribal belt was not good this time due to the influence of BAP. Regional and caste equations have been solved through Hemant Meena, son of veteran BJP leader and former minister Nandlal Meena from Pratapgarh.
Kanhaiyalal Chaudhary, who comes from Sachin Pilot's Tonk district, has also been made a minister. By making him minister, the caste and regional equation has been simplified. BJP is trying to woo voters from Tonk district, which is influenced by Sachin Pilot, by inducting a Jat leader as a minister.
Similarly, Sumit Godara, who also comes from the Jat community, has been made a minister. Efforts have been made to woo Jat voters in Bikaner and the canal region districts of the state. By making him minister, the BJP has also tried to bridge the gap in the party's vote bank after the farmers' movement. (IANS)