With portfolio distribution, Trivendra Rawat shows cabinet colleagues who’s the boss
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With portfolio distribution, Trivendra Rawat shows cabinet colleagues who’s the boss

Congress-turncoats get a better deal than BJP loyalists, Satpal Maharaj is de facto number two in cabinet

dehradun Updated: Mar 24, 2017 20:02 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat comes out after attending the first day of the interim budget session of Uttarakhand assembly in Dehradun on Friday. (Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)


DEHRADUN: By retaining the majority of departments while distributing portfolios among his nine ministers late Thursday night, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has sent out a clear message that he is the boss.

Rawat retained 40 key departments even though it took him about a week to assign duties to his cabinet colleagues who along with him were sworn-in on March 18.

The departments he retained include the public works department (PWD), which two BJP heavyweights ---Satpal Maharaj and Yashpal Arya --- were reportedly eyeing.

Rawat also asserted his authority by retaining two other key departments ---Suraj (good governance) and eradication of corruption. This gives him a clear edge over his ministers as Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his election campaign in the state had expressed his resolve to uproot corruption if the BJP won the election. Rawat’s decision to keep that department (Suraj) would also deter the officials, especially the higher bureaucracy, his ministers and the party legislators from indulging in corruption of any kind while discharging their duties.

The CM also managed to clip the wings of his main adversary and influential BJP leader from Kumaon Prakash Pant who too had been in the race for the post of chief minister. Rawat has given his rival peripheral departments ---legislative and parliamentary affairs, finance, language, sugarcane development and sugar industry, potable water and cleanliness. The only plum post that Pant has got is the department of excise. The chief minister, in comparison, seems to have elevated Satpal Maharaj, the senior most cabinet minister, by giving him the key portfolios such as tourism, pilgrimage, religious fairs, culture, besides Indo-Nepal and Uttarakhand river projects.

A cursory glance at the list of portfolios also shows that most of the five Congress turncoats, including Maharaj, have got a better deal. For instance, Harak Singh has been assigned forest and wildlife, environment and solid waste management. Subodh Uniyal has been given agriculture, agriculture marketing, agriculture education, food processing, and horticulture. Rekha Arya, a minister of state (MoS), has been assigned the departments of women empowerment and child development, besides five other departments including animal husbandry.

CM though did try to balance things by assigning higher education to the other minister of state (MoS), Dhan Singh Rawat, a BJP veteran. Dhan Singh has been assigned three other portfolios namely cooperatives, dairy development and protocol.

Among other two BJP veterans—Arvind pandey and Madan Kaushik --- the latter has got a better deal in comparison as he has been assigned the departments of urban development, and housing among others. None of the five portfolios Pandey has been assigned --- school education, Sanskrit education, sports, youth welfare and panchyati raj --- is considered plum, according to political observers.

Rawat govt sets up eco-tourism devp corp

The Uttarakhand government has constituted Eco-tourim Development Corporation. The conglomerate is mandated to carry out environmental conservation and create employment opportunities for the locals.

Chief secretary S Ramaswamy presided over the first meeting of the corporation at the state secretariat, according to an official release. At the meeting officials decided that an action plan for eco-tourism development would be submitted to the government. “In the next 15 days the corporation officials would select a pilot project to develop infrastructural facilities required for promotion of eco-tourism”, the note read. Under the project, the activities like mountain climbing, wellness camps and home stay facilities etc would be promoted across the state.

First Published: Mar 24, 2017 20:02 IST