In Rajasthan, where the BJP won all the 25 Lok Sabha seats, there was outrage among party workers and some senior leaders early on Monday when word spread the state would have no representation in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ministry. By afternoon, disappointment replaced outrage. Four-term MP from Ganganagar, Nihal Chand, was informed of his inclusion as minister of state (MoS), which was a surprise even for many party leaders in the state. He had never held any position of responsibility in the state.
Political circles were abuzz about Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje lobbying for a several MPs, including son Dushyant Singh, Sonaram Choudhary and Arjun Ram Meghwal.
Raje dissenters in the party pointed out her alleged complicity in holding back portfolios of other MPs as Modi did not accommodate Dushyant to avoid charges of promoting dynastic politics.
Poor representation became a rallying point for Opposition Congress that had six union ministers from Rajasthan in UPA-II. Congress state chief Sachin Pilot told The Indian Express, “The poor representation points to either incapacity or unwillingness of the chief minister to lobby for ministerial berths for the 25 MPs in the state or the Prime Minister did not find any MP deserving to be included in his cabinet. In the UPA regime, there were six union ministers from Rajasthan and it helped in massive development of the state.”
Raje, who attended Modi’s swearing-in, tweeted, “This historic day will be forever be remembered as a milestone in India’s journey towards progress, development and becoming a superpower!” She was silent on the poor representation of the state.
Her close aides maintained she was not upset and had refused to lobby for MPs as she was aware of Modi’s plans of a lean and trim cabinet. “All ministers in Modiji’s cabinet are popular faces and deserving. He talked of minimum government and maximum governance,” said an aide of Raje.