Jaipur: The political storm unleashed by the case of kidnapping and suspected murder of nurse Bhanwari Devi on Tuesday forced ministers in Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s cabinet to resign, paving way for the formation of a new government.
According to reports, the decision in this regard was taken during the emergency meeting, which was called by the Chief Minister to discuss the political situation in view of criticism over the involvement of several Congress ministers in the kidnapping of the nurse.
However, Ashok Gehlot will continue to serve as the Chief Minister of the state.
“The entire cabinet today submitted its resignation to the Chief Minister, who will forward it to the party high command,” Minister Shanti Dhariwal told reporters shortly after the meeting concluded.
“After getting a go-ahead from the party high command, Chief Minister Gehlot will soon constitute a new government,” she said.
A formal announcement in this regard will be made shortly by the Congress party today.
Today’s development is on the expected lines as it was reported earlier that the Rajasthan government may take such steps to save itself from the damage done to it by the Bhanwari Devi kidnapping case and drop all tainted ministers.
Today’s emergency meeting was attended by all 16 cabinet and 11 ministers of state.
Normally, the Cabinet meeting takes place on Wednesday but Gehlot convening an emergency meeting today triggered speculations about a major reshuffle in the Congress government in Rajasthan.
The Congress high command has been apparently concerned over the increasing public pressure and intense criticism from the opposition parties over the Bhanwari Devi kidnapping case, since she was a Dalit woman.
Mahipal Maderna, a power minister in the Gehlot government had already been sacked for his alleged role in the kidnapping and suspected murder of the nurse.
Besides the Bhanwari case, the ruling party has also suffered heavily due to police firing on Meo Muslims, which are Congress’ traditional vote bank, in Gopalgarh in September. The inept handling of the case by Shanti Dhariwal, one of the ministers in the Gehlot government, has also led to much criticism.
The recent developments in the state had put the Congress on the back-foot and prompted it to to go for a major reshuffle to improve its credibility.
Meanwhile, the CBI today faced the wrath of the local villagers when it went to the Bilada village to questions Congress MLA Malkhan Singh Bishnoi’s brother in connection with the case.