Resentment in Cong over delay in distribution of portfolios

Posted By: PTI
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Dehradun, Feb 17: Resentment is brewing in the ruling Congress in Uttarakhand with a section of Chief Minister Harish Rawat's Cabinet colleagues miffed over the delay in distribution of portfolios.

Cabinet minister Harak Singh Rawat has even registered his protest with the Chief Minister over the issue a couple of days back, saying he feels jobless with no portfolio being assigned to him, party sources requesting anonymity said.

He is sulking both over the delay in distribution of portfolios and someone else being appointed without his consent as the chairman of the Seed Certification Agency, a post he held as the Agriculture Minister during Vijay Bahuguna's tenure, they said.

Tilak Raj Behad was on Saturday appointed chairman of the Seed Certification Agency allegedly without Harak Singh Rawat being taken into confidence, and has not gone down well with the Minister.

He is also quite upset over the delay in distribution of portfolios to ministers even over a fortnight after being sworn in, the sources said, adding that in the absence of a portfolio, several ministers feel they are without work.

Though the reason being officially given for the delay in distribution of portfolios is the ongoing budget session of Uttarakhand Assembly, the Chief Minister is said to be indecisive about who should be given which portfolio.

He is secretly mulling a please-all formula before taking a final call on it, sources close to him said. His dilemma seems to have been caused by a mad scramble going on between his cabinet colleagues for the plum posts.

However, despite being under pressure from senior cabinet colleagues, the new chief minister cannot please them all as he heads a coalition government supported by the Progressive Democratic Front (PDF) consisting of three BSP MLAs, three Independents and one legislator of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal.

Sources said the new man at the helm is not so much under pressure from the seven-member PDF as the ministers belonging to his own party eyeing for the plum portfolios.

A coveted portfolio is the Public Works Department (PWD), with two of Harish Rawat's senior cabinet colleagues Indira Hridayesh and Amrita Rawat having set their eyes on it. Rawat cannot afford to displease either of his colleagues as Amrita is the wife of party MP Satpal Maharaj, the mentor of PDF chairman Mantri Prasad Naithani and Hridayesh is a seasoned member of his cabinet who was PWD minister in ND Tiwari's government.

Both Maharaj and former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna have said portfolios must be distributed among the ministers without much delay. Assigning portfolios to ministers will help them understand the problems afflicting their respective departments and they can brace themselves better to address them, Bahuguna said. It is over 16 days since the cabinet was sworn in and it is high time portfolios were distributed among ministers, Maharaj said.


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