DEHRADUN: The focus is on the chief ministerial berth in Uttarakhand but hectic lobbying for Cabinet berths is underway among the elected BJP legislators at the same time.
Some MLAs have openly sought a place in the Cabinet, others silently working for it. Dehradun mayor and Dharampur legislator Vinod Chamoli has claimed a ministerial spot in the new Cabinet. Though Chamoli denies lobbying for it, he asserts his strong connect and experience to execute as a minister. “I don’t have to lobby for any post as my profile says it all. The party should distribute portfolios according to the experience and stature of leaders,” he told Hindustan Times on Wednesday.
Besides the chief minister, 11 others in the rank of cabinet and state ministers will find place in the Cabinet. Eight-time MLA Harbans Kapoor leads the pack of senior legislators in BJP. It will not be easy for the party to overlook seniors in a bid to accommodate others.
Kapoor too is eyeing for a portfolio, after the former assembly Speaker defeated his nearest rival by a margin of over 16,000 votes. “I am a dedicated party worker. Certainly, my win for eight consecutive times isn’t ordinary. And I am sure, the central leadership will value and consider my contribution while distributing portfolios,” he said.
Ritu Khanduri, daughter of former chief minister and Pauri Garhwal MP BC Khanduri, and Saurabh Bahuguna, son of former CM Vijay Bahuguna, are also strong contenders among the new generation leaders for ministerial berths. “The central leadership will decide about portfolios,” Ritu said to a question in this regard.
Vijay Bahuguna had joined BJP last year after raising flag of revolt against chief minister Harish Rawat. Nine more legislators had joined him. The last Congress heavyweight to join BJP was Yashpal Arya, who won from Bajpur. Arya, Harak Singh Rawat, Subodh Uniyal are also in the race for cabinet berths.
Among other new faces, Vinod Kandari is also a claimant. He won from Deoprayag defeating a Cabinet minister and two other strong candidates. A former ABVP functionary, Kandari is close to the saffron party’s deological fountainhead RSS.. A section in party are also in favour of inducting Rajesh Shukla who defeated Harish Rawat from Kichha and Yatishwaranand who defeated the CM from Haridwar rural.
On Wednesday, Shukla was in New Delhi meeting senior leaders. “Congratulations to Rajesh Shukla, an ordinary worker of BJP who won against ex-CM of Uttarakhand,” Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted with a picture of Shukla.