Urban Development and Housing, Local Self Government.
UDH minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, 52, is the relatively new entrant in chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s core group but someone who defies the tradition image of a politician.
He is a kind of non-conformist and sprung a surprise early in his career in 1990 when for the first time he contested from Bani Park, a now defunct but posh constituency, for the BJP and wrested it from the Congress, its traditional bastion.
Since the last two elections, Shekhawat is being elected from Jhotwara—a predominantly Jat dominated constituency. The four-time MLA, thus, continued to demonstrate his base across caste lines.
Shekhawat is also a master strategist. In Jaipur’s civic polls, he managed to crown his low-profile aide Nirmal Nahata as the Jaipur mayor, though one of the strongest contenders Ashok Lahoti was long being projected as the party choice.
Raje’s picking him up for Urban Development and Housing stumped many although he was identified with finance. He was selected for IAS (allied) in 1987 but he always had a knack for politics. And he started by becoming the youngest RU president ever in 1981.
Shekhawat’s political acumen was spotted and groomed by the then chief minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. He was also his father’s family friend from the neighbouring village. The CM inducted him as MoS with independent charge of planning, besides a dozen other portfolios.
Shekhawat’s political graph gradually moved up. Raje noticed him when year after year he ripped apart Ashok Gehlot’s state budgets with the ease and efficiency of an economist.