Even as state transport minister GS Bali has been threatening a foot march for the jobless --- Rojgar Lakshaya Yatra - which is likely to end up embarrassing his own government, chief minister Virbhadra Singh has not ruled out a cabinet reshuffle and is weighing his options.
"As of now, there is no move to reshuffle the cabinet, but the possibility is very much there," the CM admitted in an informal chat with reporters at his office in the Himachal Pradesh secretariat on Monday. The cabinet could also be expanded as one berth is still vacant.
Banjar legislator Karan Singh is still vying for the cabinet berth and is in the reckoning, according to the CM.
"When ministers were sworn in, Karan name was on the list. For some reason, his name was held back, but his claim stands," the CM added.
During his tour to Kullu district recently, residents of Banjar had demanded the induction of Karan in the cabinet. Karan is younger brother of Kullu scion Maheshwar Singh, who heads Himachal Lokhit Party.
In December 2007 elections, he had left the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and contested elections on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket, but was trounced by BJP's Khimi Ram. Ahead of these assembly elections, Karan had joined Congress and defeated Khimi Ram.
Another Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Ghumarwin legislator Rajesh Dharmani is also vying for a ministerial berth. He had been appointed as the chief parliamentary secretary when the new government took care, but later withdrew his resignation. Soon after the results to Lok Sabha elections were announced, he resigned from the post and has been abstaining from office since. Of the 12 districts, Kullu and Bilaspur are still unrepresented in the cabinet.
Gulf widening between Virbhadra, Bali
In recent times, differences between chief minister Virbhadra Singh and his cabinet colleague - transport minister GS Bali seem to have widened. Bali has been upset over the government's stance in the recruitment of conductors, after 19 legislators owing allegiance to the CM strongly objected to the process, embroiling it into a controversy.
Bali, who has been a member of the Congress committee on manifesto, has also been raising questions on the rising unemployment in the state. He has also been threatening a foot march for the jobless, even as the government has been contradicting his claims.
With the CM transferring the managing directors of the food and civil supplies department and the transport department - both organisations under Bali's portfolios - without any consultation with him, the rift between the two has only widened.