Uttarakhand unit of BJP seeks more berth in union cabinet
The Uttarakhand unit of BJP has demanded more representation from the state in the Union cabinet amid speculation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may expand his council of ministers ahead of the 2019 general electionUpdated: Jun 04, 2018 21:55 IST
The Uttarakhand unit of BJP has demanded more representation from the state in the Union cabinet amid speculation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may soon expand his council of ministers ahead of the 2019 general election.
At present, party’s Dalit face Ajay Tamta, one of the five parliamentarians from the hill state, is the lone representative from Uttarakhand in the Union cabinet.
If Modi chooses to carry out the fourth expansion of his cabinet, it could be his last as hardly a year is left for the next parliamentary polls, said a state BJP leader, who is familiar with the developments in the party’s central unit.
A section of state BJP leaders, however, demanded that Modi induct into his Cabinet one of the four parliamentarians representing Uttarakhand or recently elected Rajya Sabha member from the state Anil Baluni.
Tamta was inducted into the Union cabinet when Modi expanded it third time last year.
BJP state unit president Ajay Bhatt, however, refused to comment on the issue stating that cabinet reshuffle or expansion is the prime minister’s prerogative.
Besides Tamta, other four BJP parliamentarians are three former chief ministers BC Khanduri, Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank and BS Koshiyari, and Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah.
Khanduri, Nishank and Koshiyari represent Pauri, Haridwar and Naintial Lok Sabha seats, respectively. Shah represents Tehri.
A section of BJP leaders have demanded that Modi induct into his cabinet some more faces from the state citing several reasons.
“For one, that would help boost the morale of our party workers, which would benefit us ahead of the next (2019) parliamentary polls, for which not much time is left now,” said state BJP leader Pushkar Singh Kala.
Such a move, he clarified, would also help balance the caste equations in BJP’s favour.
“Dalits in our state have got the representation following the BJP parliamentarian’s induction into the cabinet,” he said referring to union minister of state for textiles Ajay Tamta.
“It is now time the upper castes also got representation in the Union cabinet because they are in a majority.”
Former state BJP vice president Lakhiram Joshi said if Prime Minister Modi chooses to induct some of the three parliamentarians from Garhwal, it would help balance the regional equations ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
“Regional equations went awry after Tamta, a Kumaoni, was inducted into the Cabinet whereas Garhwal went unrepresented,” he said.
BJP insiders, however, said Uttarakhand with just five Lok Sabha seats is unlikely to get one more representation in the Union Cabinet.
“Besides, Modi will expand his cabinet in view of the political equations unfolding ahead of the next general elections,” a state BJP office bearer said.
State BJP vice president Jyoti Prasad Gairola said the next cabinet expansion, whenever it happens, would be carried out to give a push for development in the country.
Party insiders, however, said Modi might carry out his fourth and supposedly last Cabinet expansion ahead of the next general elections to induct some of the parliamentarians belonging to the BJP allies.
“Such a move has been necessitated after some of the NDA allies of the ruling BJP like the Telugu Desam Party recently opted out of the Modi government,” a leader of the BJP’s state unit said requesting anonymity.
“Parliamentarians belonging to the BJP allies who stand a chance in the Union Cabinet during its next expansion could also be from the states that will be going to polls this year,” he pointed out referring to Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.