Desert Dunes

Why the Gehlot government in Rajasthan is not being able to take new decisions

Gehlot is busy undoing what the BJP did to stop his earlier projects.

 |  Desert Dunes  |  3-minute read |   03-01-2019
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The tussle between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and deputy CM Sachin Pilot made Congress president Rahul Gandhi finalise the Cabinet and assign portfolios.

As expected, Gehlot retained finance and home, while Pilot got the crucial PWD and rural development and Panchayati Raj portfolios. Some of the ministers are first-timers who are settling down in their new job. Gehlot’s focus is to always project his government as sensitive and answerable to the public, but somehow halfway through, he misses the plot. The big question is: Will Gehlot be able to give a new direction to the state or will he focus only on issues that have been close to his heart in the past?

Some of his initial decisions are to undo what the BJP did to stop his projects and reverse his decisions.

During his first Cabinet meeting, the CM decided to revive the University of Journalism in Jaipur, which was merged with Rajasthan University’s department of journalism by the Vasundhara Raje government.

Gehlot will also revive Ambedkar University, which was set up long ago but never took off.

gehlot-inside_010319124337.jpgGehlot is attached to his past projects which were shelved by the Raje government. (Photo: India Today)

Besides, he has restored direct elections to mayoral posts. This spelt disaster during his previous tenures as Congress mayors headed Boards which had a BJP majority, leading to a near-collapse of the local bodies.

A good decision was to remove Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s pictures from official letterheads. These will now bear only the official insignia.

However, the biggest surprise pulled off by Gehlot was to remove minimum educational qualifications for candidates for Panchayati Raj and local body elections. The previous government had introduced this criterion, which was widely welcomed, but some Left-oriented NGOs challenged it in court and lost the case.

Gehlot has tried to please such activists and appear pro-deprived. But it is being seen as a regressive step on social media and may lead to a massive backlash from young, educated voters. The CM has also increased the amount of the old-age pension scheme, launched before the 2013 polls, to Rs 750 from Rs 500 per month.

Gehlot's zeal to justify his past actions is also visible from his choice of officers.

jaipur-metro_010319124355.jpgGehlot is silent about extending the Jaipur Metro project. (Photo: India Today)

Samit Sharma will take care of general medicine. Sharma pioneered the field through free distribution of generic medicines in OPDs.

This scheme was sidelined because the BJP focused on a complicated insurance scheme for hospitalisation instead, the CM said.

He has also promised to speed up works on the Barmer refinery; a tough task due to scarce funds.

But he is silent on completing the Jaipur Metro, which was launched to gain mileage during the 2013 polls. It was badly planned and covered only a shorter route. Still, it could not be completed before the polls.

Jaipur badly needs a metro line along the busy JLN Marg and Tonk Road with links to the outer areas.

The authorities ignore parking and traffic issues altogether.

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Also Read: Rajasthan: Minimum educational criteria for civic polls was elitist. Scrapping it is inclusive


Rohit Parihar Rohit Parihar @rohit0

The writer is Senior Editor, India Today. He is based in Jaipur.

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