Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan Rajendra Rathore has written to Governor Kalraj Mishra, claiming that the state government is trying to appoint more MLAs to the posts of adviser to the chief minister and as parliamentary secretaries than the set constitutional limit. In his letter to the governor, the BJP leader said that the state government has already given office of profit to six MLAs by appointing them as advisers to the chief minister on par with cabinet or minister of state rank. This is unconstitutional, Rathore claimed. He also claimed that there are plans to appoint a dozen parliamentary secretaries on par with cabinet and minister of state rank.
These appointments of advisers and parliamentary secretaires violate the constitutional norm that “the number of ministers in the government can be up to 15 per cent of the total assembly seats”, Rathore said. There are 200 assembly seats in Rajasthan. He alleged that the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in the state was intending to do so to please dissatisfied MLAs. Rathore’s remarks come in the backdrop of the expansion of the Gehlot cabinet in which many Congress and independent MLAs, who were expecting ministerial berths, were not accommodated.
These legislators would be adjusted through political appointments such as parliamentary secretaries and advisers, sources had said on Sunday, when 15 new ministers were sworn in. “The number of ministers in the government can be up to 15 per cent of the total assembly seats according to the Constitution and it (state government) is trying to please the dissatisfied MLAs by giving them office of profit by appointing them as advisers and parliamentary secretaries, which is illegal and unconstitutional,” he said in his letter.
Citing Articles 164 (1A), 191 (1) (A) and 246 of the Constitution and a Supreme Court decision, Rathore said that appointment of parliamentary secretaries and advisers is clearly defined. On the appointment of six MLAs as advisers to the chief minister, Rathore was referring to the appointment of three Congress and as many independent MLAs to the post after the Cabinet expansion on Sunday In his letter, Rathore said that the Congress has been facing infighting since it came to power in Rajasthan and now by going above the limit defined in the Constitution, is trying to please dissatisfied legislators by giving them appointments of parliamentary secretaries and advisers. “We demand that the governor cancel appointment of advisers to the chief minister and bind the state government to not appoint parliamentary secretaries,” Rathore said. Those appointed advisers are — Congress MLAs Jitendra Singh, Rajkumar Sharma and Danish Abrar, and independent MLAs Babu Lal Nagar, Sanyam Lodha and Ramkesh Meena, according to a list of the chief minister’s office.
The Congress has 108 MLAs in the 200-member assembly. It also has the support of 12 out of 13 independent MLAs. With the induction of 12 new ministers and elevation of three ministers from MoS to cabinet rank, the number of the ministry now has 30 members, the maximum possible for Rajasthan.
The council of ministers has 19 cabinet ministers and 10 ministers of state, apart from the chief minister.
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