As BJP’s ‘Big 3’ miss the bus, people ask if Uttarakhand losing political relevance
Although the chances of any of the remaining four MPs from the hill state getting a Union cabinet berth was really slim, their supporters were hoping against hope.Updated: Sep 03, 2017 20:41 IST
Dehradun: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi inducted nine ministers and promoted four others in what is being seen as last reshuffle of the central council of ministers ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the hill state of Uttarakhand has emerged as a loser.
Although the chances of any of the remaining four MPs from the hill state getting a Union cabinet berth was really slim, their supporters were hoping against hope.
Riding on the Modi wave, Uttarakhand, which has five Lok Sabha seats, had elected all BJP candidates in 2014 elections. Those who won included Ajay Tamta from Almora, Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah (Tehri Garhwal) and former chief ministers Bhagat Singh Koshyari (Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar), Maj Gen (retd) BC Khanduri (Garhwal), and Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ (Haridwar).
Only Tamta was picked as a minister of state for textiles when Modi first formed his Cabinet. Of the remaining four, the three former CMs have once again missed the bus. Two of them -- Koshyari and Khanduri --- are 70 plus. Nishank is in his 50s but despite efforts put in by supporters, there were no takers for his name.
The social media is now abuzz with people questioning if the hill state has lost the political relevance because of “silent” parliamentarians.
“Will Uttarakhand (MPs) ever become masters or will they remain only servants,” asked Prakash Thapliyal, a political activist, on Facebook.
“Modi and Amit Shah now clearly know it hardly matters if there is any powerful minister from Uttarakhand,” felt Anusuya Prasad Ghayal.
In the last assembly polls, BJP created a sort of history by winning 57 out of the 70 assembly seats. Experts say, with resounding results in general polls and assembly polls, BJP has gained maximum political mileage in the hill state. And now party faces a challenge to retain its charm. It is unlikely that party will repeat Koshyari and Khanduri in 2019 general elections owing to their age. The buzz is that party may also change the face in seats where local MPs have failed to perform.
Insiders say this is the reason why central party leadership is not interested in doing experiment with the state by picking someone as minister in the Modi’s cabinet. Tamta was also seen as non-performer but since he is a young Dalit face of the party in the state, he has been allowed to retain his seat till the next general elections. He is likely to be the party’s face in 2019 polls as well.
However, in Nainital, there are half a dozen contenders who intend to fill the space if Koshyari is not repeated.
Party could field a new face in Nainital and Pauri. BJP’s blue eyed boy Anil Baloni is seen as one the contenders.