State transport minister GS Bali caused a flutter in political circles of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday after talks of him offering to resign from the state cabinet surfaced.
Upset over repeated interference in his day-to-day working, Bali also returned his official vehicles to the department of general administration. The move assumes significance as Bali's “offer” to resign came a month before the June 23 Mandi bypoll.
In recent past, Bali had been unhappy over what he described as “hasty” appointments made in his departments, and chief minister Virbhadra Singh not taking him into confidence on certain decisions.
He was also reportedly dissatisfied with the style of functioning of Himachal Road Transport Corporation chairman Kewal Singh Pathania. It is said Bali had been upset with Pathania over attempts to bypass him in important matters related to the state-run public transport corporation.
Contacted, Bali refused to comment, though said, “I will only speak to media after I meet the chief minister. All I can tell you is that I am driving my own vehicle.”
Bali, who also holds the food and civil supplies portfolio, returned his official vehicles in the afternoon, further giving credence to speculations about his resignation. He attended a function at Green Hill College in Solan district in the evening. “I will return to Shimla and meet the chief minister then,” said Bali, the senior most state minister from the politically sensitive Kangra district.
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh's “loyalists” have dubbed the timing of Bali's move to resign as “ill-timed”.
It is learnt that Bali also sent a letter in this regard to both Virbhadra Singh and All-India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Birender Singh, who is party affairs in-charge of the state.” “I have not received any resignation. If somebody does send one, I will not waste a minute to accept it,” said Birender Singh, when reached over telephone,
On the other hand, leaders from Virbhadra camp denied that Bali had resigned. “So far, the CM has not received any information on Bali's resignation,” said a minister, who accompanied the CM to New Delhi.
Since the time of the cabinet formation, Bali had been unhappy over the transport and food department portfolios that were allocated to him. Bali is also said to have been perturbed over the chief minister “cold shouldering” him in important matters pertaining to Kangra district and giving preference to urban development minister Sudhir Sharma.