IN THE FIRST CONGRESS CABINET MEETING – RAJE REIGNS
JAIPUR: The newly installed Congress regime held its first Cabinet meeting on Saturday. In a bid to undo the several wrong turns made by the new government in the short span of 13 days since coming to power, the Gehlot cabinet approved the conversion of the Jan-Ghosna Patr – the RPCC election manifesto and adopted the public manifesto as a policy document. A controversial document, with the state BJP claiming that it is nothing more than a rip-off of their manifesto, the Gaurav Sankalp Patr – it remains to be seen what impact its implementation will have on the Lok Sabha elections to be held in May 2019.
LOAN WAIVER IN A FLUX
Opting to go the Raje way, the Cabinet announced setting up a Loan Waiver Committee that will look into a farmer’s issue to determine whether they qualify for a waiver. Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in February 2018 announced in her budget speech a loan waiver (Cooperative) of 8000 Crores, which benefited 30 Lakh farmers and the setting up of a committee that would review issues of other farmers.
RAJE JANSAMVAAD REPLICATED
All ministers of the Gehlot-Pilot Government have been directed to hold public hearings at their bungalows every morning from 9AM to 10AM. A style typical to Former Chief Minister Raje, it’s being seen as an attempt to establish a friendly image by appearing approachable to people before the Lok Sabha elections of May 2019.
SAFFRON FEAR PREVAILS
Continuing the trend of scrutinising reforms and works of the previous government – the Gehlot-Pilot Cabinet approved removal of the Deen Dayal Upadhyay logo from all official government documents. A petty move, some analyst termed it as fear of saffron-ism. Congress has also drawn flack from some Hindu outfits in Rajasthan over this matter.
FOCUS: LOKSABHA 2019
In a thinly veiled attempt to woo voters the Gehlot-Pilot government’s first cabinet meeting focused on the rural vote bank. This move comes after the conditions for the farmer loan waiver and shortage of urea across the state drew immense negativity – instilling fear in the party cadre that the ‘congress wave’ is fizzling out already.
The cabinet also reversed important reforms brought about by the Raje government, such as abolishing minimum educational qualifications for contesting local body and Panchayati Raj elections. The cabinet on Saturday also re-introduced direct elections of Mayor and Chairman of Local bodies – a move that has received mixed reactions from both parties.