DEHRADUN: For several senior BJP leaders still sulking at not being given a cabinet berth, the hope and the wait to land a minister-rank responsibility just got longer. The Trivendra Singh Rawat government has made it clear that it would act with “restraint” while distributing minister level responsibilities among party workers.
“We will not distribute minister level responsibilities among our party workers or appoint them as heads of various corporations just to please them,” said BJP state general secretary Naresh Bansal. “Such official responsibilities would be given to party workers (only) where such a step would be in keeping with the constitutional norms”, he told HT Friday.
Bansal accused the previous Harish Rawat-led government of misusing the exchequer by distributing the ministerial level privileges among Congress workers. “Not only he (Rawat), even his predecessor N D Tiwari put a burden on the exchequer and distributed a large number of minister-level privileges among his opponents to mollify them,” he alleged.
The Congress, however, rubbished the allegation. “Leaders of that party (BJP) have forgotten the unaccountable number of minister-level privileges its government distributed when it had been in power twice,” senior Congress leader M D Joshi alleged. He was referring to the brief tenure of the Interim government formed by the saffron party after the state’s formation in 2000 and its second tenure, which lasted for full five years.
“Our party (Congress) that ruled the state twice, however, distributed minister-level responsibilities strictly in keeping with the constitutional norms,” Joshi claimed.
Bansal, however, dubbed the claim as baseless.
A senior office bearer of the BJP’s state unit, however, said the party would distribute only one-fourth of number of minister-level responsibilities that the Congress had distributed among its workers when it was in power. “It’s a kind of undeclared cap the party has imposed on itself at the instance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said. The leader claimed that the PM never encouraged the practice of distributing privileges and positions among BJP workers after he took over at the Centre in 2014.
“Similarly, our party also took a cue from him (Modi) and refrained from distributing privileges among party workers in the states where it has formed its government”, he said referring to Maharastra, Haryana, Manipur, Assam and Goa. “We will follow that example in Uttarakhand as well,” he said.
Political observers, however, feel that the BJP governemnt can afford to exercise restraint in distributing powers and privileges among its party worker. “It can afford to take the moral high ground owing to the four-fifth majority it got in the assembly election,” Prof M M Semwal of Garhwal University said. “The previous Congress governments were forced to distribute powers and privileges among the party workers to mollify them owing to the wafer thin majority that party had in the House on both occasions.”