Uttarakhand failed to find a place in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s expanded ministry on Sunday but state BJP leaders put up a brave face, saying they were confident that their parliamentarians will find a place in a future ministerial reshuffle.
Hopes rose of at least one central minister from the state after the party's Almora MP, Ajay Tamta, suddenly left for Delhi on Saturday night. Earlier, the Nainital MP, BS Koshiyari, had also been tipped for a ministerial berth.
Having missed a place in Modi’s government after it came to power in May, the BJP in Uttarakhand had hoped for a “course correction” for a state which had given the party all five Lok Sabha seats.
But there was no face from Uttarakhand in the 21 new ministers Modi picked on Sunday.
"There is no question of disappointment. This is not the last time Modiji is carrying out a cabinet expansion,” said state BJP president Tirath Singh Rawat.
“Such expansions will take place in future also and some of our MPs will certainly get representation in the Union cabinet.”
Many saw Tamta as a strong contender for a ministerial post, given his relatively young age of under 40 and his Dalit background.
"If Tamta was included in the Union cabinet it (would have) certainly help(ed) wean away a considerable portion of the state's 16-17% SC vote from the Congress, helping our party expand its mass base among Dalits", a BJP leader said.
Although the earlier failure to give a ministerial berth to Uttarakhand had caused some heartburn in the state party unit, local leaders this time put up a united face in downplaying any disappointment.
They said the absence of a minister from the state in the Union government did not hamper the state's development.
"Modiji himself is very keen on this region's development and his government has sanctioned huge funds for a number of development projects being initiated in the state,” said state BJP president Rawat.
"The main issue is not which of our five MPs get a cabinet berth; the issue is development shouldn't suffer and it is not suffering."