New Delhi: Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot focused on experience and balancing of caste equations in the state while inducting 23 ministers on Monday.

The ministers who took oath of office on Monday, a week after Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot were sworn in, included 22 from the Congress and one from its ally, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).

Of the 23 ministers who were sworn in by governor Kalyan Singh, 13 are cabinet ministers and 10 are ministers of state. Of these, seven cabinet ministers and all 10 ministers of state are first time ministers. No first time MLA from Congress was inducted on Monday, said senior party leaders.

“The focus on experience is visible. None of the first time MLAs from Congress were given a chance and a few in the list are either former state ministers or former functionaries. Three former members of Parliament (MP), including Harish Choudhary, Lal Chand Kataria and Raghu Sharma have also been sworn in as cabinet ministers," a senior party leader from the state said requesting anonymity.

Other cabinet ministers in the list include B.D. Kalla, Shanti Kumar Dhariwal, Parsadi Lal Meena, Master Bhanwar Lal Meghwal, Pramod Jain Bhaya, Vishvendra Singh, Ramesh Chand Meena, Udai Lal Anjna, Pratap Singh Khachariawas and Saleh Mohammad.

The top leadership of Rajasthan was in the national capital over the weekend where hectic discussions took place with Congress president Rahul Gandhi and other central party leaders. Senior party leaders say that as Congress has a slim majority, Gehlot has tried to maintain a balance of caste equations in the first expansion of council of ministers.

According to the party’s internal calculations, two ministers each are from Brahmin, Jain and Rajput communities; four each from Jatt, tribals and other backward classes and 3 are scheduled castes including a lone woman minister. The council of minister also finds one representation each from Muslims and Gurjars.

Congress won 99 seats, falling just one seat short of the majority mark of 100. It has inducted RLD’s Subhash Garg as a minister of state. However, party heavyweights including former Union minister C.P. Joshi did not find a place in the new council of ministers.

The other ministers of state include Govind Singh Dotasara, Mamta Bhupesh, Arjun Singh Bamnia, Bhanwar Singh Bhati, Sukhram Vishnoi, Ashok Chandna, Tika Ram Jully, Bhajan Lal Jatav and Rajendra Singh Yadav.

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