Haryana Cabinet expansion: Plum portfolios for JJP ministers
Some BJP ministers who are sworn in may serve as ministers without portfolio as the party brass decides on what portfolios to give them.Updated: Nov 14, 2019 08:57 IST
A day before the much-awaited induction of MLAs in Haryana council of ministers, governor Satyadeo Narain Arya allocated 11 ministerial portfolios to deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala.
The allocation of some of the top-of-the-line portfolios to Dushyant, made with effect from November 13 on the advice of the chief minister, seems to have been done with an aim to keep its post-poll ally, the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) happy.
In the process, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar also sketched a dividing line, clearly earmarking the portfolios to be handled by the two allies.
It is expected that Dushyant will shed some of the 11 departments allocated to him and further reallocate them to two other ministers from the JJP camp who will be sworn in on Thursday afternoon.
On the other hand, the BJP MLAs who would be sworn in as ministers on Thursday may continue as ministers without portfolios for some days if the party high-ups fail to firm up the allocation business due to bickering.
As per a notification issued by secretary to the governor, Vijay Singh Dahiya, the deputy chief minister has been allocated excise and taxation, industries and commerce, revenue and disaster management, public works (building & roads), development and panchayats, food, civil supplies and consumer affairs, labour and employment, civil aviation, archaeology and museums, rehabilitation and consolidation.
Barring civil aviation, rehabilitation, consolidation, and archaeology and museums, the remaining seven departments with the deputy chief ministers fall in the dream list of every minister.
BJP MINISTERS WOULD HAVE LIMITED CHOICE
This effectively means that chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar will have a limited choice when he would advice a reallocation after the MLAs from the BJP camp are sworn in on Thursday.
Senior BJP leaders, including the likes of Anil Vij who is among the only two ministers re-elected this time, will be sorely disappointed with restricted choice they would now have in terms of portfolios.
The chief minister who at present holds the charge of all the remaining departments can reallocate the departments of finance, town and country planning, power, irrigation, urban local bodies, transport, agriculture, cooperation, parliamentary affairs, animal husbandry and dairying, education, health, medical education and research, public health engineering, tourism, technical education, skill development and industrial training, mines and geology, new and renewable energy, social justice and empowerment, welfare of SCs and BCs, forests, environment, housing, women and child development, sports and youth affairs information and public relations. Jails, electronics and information technology, printing and stationery, elections, hospitality, law and legislative, science and technology, archives, architecture, art and culture, will also go to the BJP camp ministers. Khattar is not expected to give away home, administration of justice, general administration personnel and training, Raj Bhavan Affairs to any of his cabinet colleague.
Both chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala were sworn in on October 27, three days after the assembly poll results threw up a hung assembly. The BJP as the single largest party with 40 MLAs entered into a coalition with the JJP to form the government. The BJP also claimed to have the support of seven independents besides their post-poll ally JJP’s 10 MLAs.
Thursday’s scheduled cabinet induction is taking place more than a fortnight after the BJP-JJP government was formed in the state. Khattar on Sunday held discussions with the BJP national president Amit Shah on the cabinet line up at New Delhi on Sunday.
BJP PROBABLES FOR CABINET BERTH
From the BJP camp, former ministers Anil Vij, a Punjabi-Khatri from Ambala Cantt in the north, and Banwari Lal, a scheduled caste from Bawal in the south, are sure to be inducted in the cabinet. Among those in consideration for a cabinet berth are Seema Trikha (Badhkal), Kamal Gupta (Hisar) Kanwar Pal Gujjar (Jagadhri), Mool Chand Sharma (Ballabhgarh), Mahipal Dhanda (Panipat rural) and Narnaul MLA OP Yadav.
Besides Trikha another woman Kamlesh Dhanda is also in the reckoning.
Kamal Gupta comes from Vaish community and represents Hisar in the north-western part of the state.
Kanwar Pal is a Gujjar from Jagadhri in the north, Mool Chand Sharma, a Brahmin from Ballabhgarh in the south and Bishamber Balmiki, a scheduled caste from Bawani Khera in southern Haryana. Yadav is an Ahir from the Ahirwal region in the southern Haryana.
JJP MLAs IN RECKONING
It is certain that BJP’s coalition partner, the JJP will get only three berths including that of Dushyant Chautala as deputy CM, in the Council of Ministers. From the JJP camp, second term MLAs, RK Gautam (Narnaund) and Anoop Dhanak (Uklana) are in contention for cabinet berths. Gautam is a Brahmin and represents Narnaund in the north-west while Dhanak is from a scheduled caste and represents Uklana in the north-west.
NO CLARITY ON INDEPENDENTS
There is no clarity about the prospects of independent MLAs lending support to the BJP-JJP coalition. Initially, two Jat independent MLAs Balraj Kundu (Meham) and Ranjit Singh (Rania) were under consideration for cabinet berths. However, the BJP is rethinking its strategy and may put the independents on wait list, party sources said.