Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot finally formed his ministry on Friday with 11 Cabinet ministers and two Ministers of state.
Among these four are Independents who are crucial as the Congress is five short of a clear majority in the Rajasthan Assembly.
And it was an Independent Golma Devi who was the star attraction among the new ministers. Golma is illiterate and couldn't even take her oath properly. But her prime qualification to get a ministerial berth is her husband Kirori Lal Meena, a powerful tribal leader who rebelled against the BJP just ahead of the recent elections, and now controls a number of Independent MLAs.
"My husband, who is a doctor, will help out and so will my personal assistant. What I am going to do is issue orders and keep visiting my area," says Golma Devi. (Watch)
And with his wife getting a ministerial chair in the Gehlot government, Kirori Lal, a minister in the former Vasundhara government, is now ready to don the duty at home. "I will now do everything that Golma used to do. From washing clothes and cooking food to taking care of everyone at home."
In reality, Kirorilal managed a ministership for his wife primarily because he heads a group of five Independent MLAs. And Ashok Gehlot, who needs the support of Independents to run his government, is trying to turn his compulsion into a virtue.
"It is not necessary to be highly educated to become a minister. People who are not educated have a lot of common sense and Rabri Devi has already shown how they can be good administrators," he says.
While supporters claim its a triumph of democracy critics here say turning an illiterate Golma Devi into a minister is a mockery of democracy. But perhaps it reflects the truth of India's politics today, especially in a hung assembly where unless you offer ministerial berths, its almost impossible to cobble together a majority.
Golma -- Rajasthan's own Rabri Devi? Yes, says the CM
Jaipur, Dec 19: Her face covered in a veil, 52-year-old Golma Devi, who can hardly read or write, was among 13 ministers inducted in Ashok Gehlot government on Friday.
Dressed in a traditional yellow "Odhana and Ghaghara", Golma, wife of dissident BJP leader Kirorilal Meena, failed to even read out the oath of office and secrecy.
It was left to another independent MLA R K Saini, who was also sworn in as state minister, to assist her to complete the laid down procedure.
As Governor of Rajasthan S K Singh started administering the oath to Gola at Raj Bhawan here, it was a apparently a display of rote learning for her as she blurted out--- "Golma Devi bolrahi hoon" (Golma Devi is speaking), drawing peals of laughter from the audience.
For the second time, when the Governor started with the oath, Golma just repeated her previous line "I...". As she struggled, the oath was taken as "read".
Defending his colleague, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, "uneducated MLAs should also be given chance to prove their mettle...Golma will use her common sense as a woman and work for the welfare of the state.
"We have given a message that people who are less educated can get elected as MLA and even become a minister and work for betterment of people", Gehlot said and drew comparison between Golma and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi, wife of Railway Minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad.