Rajasthan's New Districts: Would Gehlot, a fourth-time chief executive, run for re-election?

Rajasthan's New Districts: Would Gehlot, a fourth-time chief executive, run for re-election?

Ashok Gehlot, the chief minister of Rajasthan, declared that the Congress-led administration would establish 19 new districts and three more divisional headquarters in the state close to ten months before the assembly elections.

Congress and independent lawmakers chanted in favour of him during his speech to the Assembly shortly after the announcement: "Gehlot ji Zindabad, wapas aayenge chauthi baar" (Gehlot will form a government for the fourth time).

According to Gehlot, the additional districts and divisions will better meet the requirements of residents who reside distant from the divisional headquarters. Gehlot's move is being seen as a 'political gain' as he leaves no stone unturned for his re-election campaign in his third term as chief minister. He cites Rajasthan's geographic boundaries as the primary justification for adding more districts to benefit the common man, maintain effective law and order, and improve administration.

The declaration was slammed by the opposition BJP, which also included vice president and former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who charged Gehlot of using it to further his political ambitions.

The declaration of additional districts, according to Raje, has placed the state's financial and economic structure in jeopardy and poses an administrative problem. Ultimately, it will result in more administrative issues. Also, before presenting the updated list of districts, several flaws were overlooked."

Gehlot said, "Other states in the nation have been ahead of Rajasthan in developing new districts, like Madhya Pradesh with an estimated population of 72 million, which is the second biggest state by land and has 52 districts, and West Bengal. Rajasthan presently includes 52 districts and has a population of around 78 million. Moreover, Rajasthan is geographically smaller than West Bengal, which just unveiled seven new districts."

Rajendra Rathore, a member of the BJP and the deputy leader of the opposition, denounced Gehlot's action. "The budget was created with polling results in mind. Instead of assisting the Rajasthani people, it will end up being expensive. During the first phase of establishing the new districts, Gehlot advocated allocating Rs 2,000 crore to the development of infrastructure and human resources.

Creating new districts after 15 years

Rajasthan now has seven divisional headquarters and 33 districts. After fifteen years, the districts are being expanded. Southern Rajasthan's Pratapgarh district was established in 2008, during Raje's first term as chief minister. It was formed from Chittorgarh, Banswara, and Udaipur.

Pali, Sikar, and Banswara are the names of the three new divisional headquarters. The new districts include Anoopgarh, which was formerly a part of Ganganagar, Balotra (Barmer), Beawar (Ajmer), Kekri (Ajmer), Deeg (Bharatpur), Deedwana-Kuchaman (Nagaur), Dudu (Jaipur), Gangapur City (Sawai Madhopur), Jaipur North, Jaipur South, Jodhpur East, Jodhpur West, Kotput (Bhilwara).

Jaipur, the state capital, will now be split into the Jaipur, Jaipur North, Jaipur South, and Dudu districts.

a long-standing request

For a very long time, there has been a desire for the creation of additional districts. Madan Prajapat, a Congress lawmaker from Pachpadra in Barmer, said in February 2022 that he would go barefoot until his desire to have Balotra become a district was granted.

CM Gehlot would utilise the announcement of the creation of the new districts to visit each one, according to sources in Congress, in order to increase public interest and momentum.

"The Congress government is pulling all the strings to be re-elected for a fourth time, whether it be a fifth budget with no new tax burden on the populace, a Rs 25 lakh package of the Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme, urban MNREGA, a subsidised Rs 500 gas cylinder, or the return to the Old Pension Scheme. The electoral platform included a call for more districts, and the Congress administration implemented it. Also, this is Gehlot's last forceful effort to make a return, a senior Congressman informed Outlook.

In order to create additional districts, a committee was also constituted in 2014 during the previous BJP administration and was led by former IAS official Parmesh Chandra. Nevertheless, once it turned in its report, nothing changed. Geographical region, population, distances between existing districts, and administrative needs were among the qualifying criteria.