“Well-Thought Out Decision”: Ashok Gehlot Denies Rift Over Portfolios

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The Congress defeated the BJP to form government in Rajasthan earlier this month. (File)

Jaipur:

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has dismissed speculation of a rift in his government over allocation of ministerial portfolios, saying the allotment was well though out and has been welcomed by the people. On Wednesday, Rajasthan ministers were allocated portfolios. Mr Gehlot kept nine departments for himself, including crucial ministries of home and financial affairs. He said the new ministerial group will hold its first meeting on December 28.

"We have taken a well-thought out decision, which the people have welcomed," Mr Gehlot said, adding a united Congress will help provide good governance in the state.

Mr Gehlot also dismissed allegation of a delay in cabinet formation. "It takes two-three days in cabinet formation and the portfolios were handed over within two days in the state," he said.

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"We will provide good governance, improve law and order and move towards fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the youth, which are some big challenges before us," he added.

The Congress defeated the BJP to form government in Rajasthan earlier this month. The party was decimated in 2013 polls, winning only 21 out of 200 seats. Sachin Pilot was entrusted with reviving the party in the state. After the Congress won, he was vying for the chief ministerial post as well. He was however pipped by Mr Gehlot in the race. Mr Pilot settled for the post of deputy chief minister.

Mr Pilot has been given the charge of public works, rural development, panchayati raj, science and technology and statistics departments. "People gave the mandate and now the government will deliver. We will work in a collective leadership. Ours is a balanced cabinet with new, young and experienced members," the deputy chief minister said today.

It was reported that Mr Gehlot was given the charge of Rajasthan keeping in consideration the equations for 2019 general election, for which the preparation has already started. He said a meeting with Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot and AICC general secretary in-charge for the state Avinash Pande has already taken place.

Mr Gehlot hoped the proposed anti-BJP alliance is formally announced soon. "If this government comes again, then there is a threat to the country, the country's democracy and its Constitution. All opposition parties feel this and we are hopeful the 'mahagathbandhan' will be formed soon and will be successful," he said.

The proposed alliance of regional parties with the Congress has not been formally announced yet. However, a rival proposed alliance that intends to leave the Congress out, is being mooted by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who is meeting regional leaders to drum up support. So far, he has met with Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee and Odisha Chief Minister Navin Patnaik. He also intends to meet Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav.

After nearly four years of poor performance, the Congress won assembly elections in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

With inputs from agencies

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