Haryana chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday effected a re-shuffle of portfolios of four cabinet ministers including the top two – Harmohinder Singh Chatha and Capt Ajay Singh Yadav. The portfolios of Mahender Pratap and Satpal Sangwan were also changed.
Capt Yadav who adopted a defiant posture on certain issues has been divested of the important portfolios of Finance and Irrigation while Chatha who is the number two in Cabinet’s order of precedence has been allocated these portfolios. Chatha loses Co-operation but retains Food and Supply. Since he comes from the water starved southern Haryana belt, the Irrigation portfolio was probably more dear to Capt Yadav. Losing it would hurt him the most. The status attached with Finance portfolio though notional is substantial.
Yadav has now been given the charge of Power department and he continues to hold the portfolio of Forest and Environment. “After unbundling, the power sector primarily is controlled by the Utilities headed by Managing Directors. A minister can play a significant role in this sector only if he is assertive enough,’’ said an official. The development could also mean exit for Capt Yadav from the chairmanship of High Powered Purchase Committee (HPPC).
While Satpal Sangwan, a former Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) MLA who had switched sides to join Congress has been allocated Co-operation and Housing, the number five in the Cabinet, Mahender Pratap gets Revenue, Consolidation, Rehabilitation but retains Technical Education and Renewable Energy. Pratap loses the Power portfolio, a charge he was at sea all along. Sangwan who was holding the Revenue portfolio is learnt to have requested the chief minister to change his department.
The developments seems to be significant in light of recent developments – exit of Om Prakash Jain from the cabinet and Sunday’s show of annoyance by minister of state for home, Gopal Kanda. “The message is clear. Those who try to oppose will be tackled sooner or later,’’ remarked a minister.