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Posted at: May 25, 2019, 7:38 AM; last updated: May 25, 2019, 7:38 AM (IST)

Inducting ministers a ticklish issue for Thakur

Inducting ministers a ticklish issue for Thakur

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, May 24

Inducting two ministers in his Cabinet could prove to be far more ticklish for Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur than he had anticipated with many legislators managing huge leads expecting their induction into the Cabinet.

With the mission of winning all four seats complete and that too with a very impressive margin, filling the two vacancies in his Cabinet due to the resignation of Power Minister Anil Sharma and the victory of Food and Civil Supplies Minister Kishan Kapoor from Kangra would be the next target.

Another aspect which could dash the hopes of some aspirants is that the single criteria for getting a ministerial berth would not just be the lead but also striking regional balance. “There is no doubt that all my ministers and MLAs along with party leaders worked very hard to get formidable leads, so I am looking at the issue of filling the two vacancies with an open mind,” the Chief Minister said today without disclosing much as to what was going on in his mind.

The strong probables for being inducted as ministers includes Rakesh Pathania from Nurpur (35,170 lead), Col Inder Singh from Sarkaghat (31,021 lead), Rajiv Bindal from Nahan (16,188 lead) and Ramesh Dhawala from Jwalamukhi (28,910 lead). Even though Bindal is already the Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha and Dhwala, vice-chairman of the planning board, both are keen on a ministerial berth. However, chances of the Chief Minister shifting them seem unlikely.

Another factor which would be borne in mind while picking up ministers would be loyalty towards the Chief Minister. 

Despite being at number five in the lead criteria, Pathania qualifies both lead wise as well as on the basis of district quota in the ministry.

However, Thakur doesn’t seem to be in tearing hurry to fill the two vacancies. The wait could even turn out to be longer as the possibility of the Cabinet expansion along with reshuffle and change in portfolios taking place after the by-poll to the two assembly segments of Dharamsala in Kangra and Pachaad in Sirmour can’t be ruled out.

The Chief Minister has in the past said though a big victory margin for the party would be a deciding factor, ensuring regional balance and district representation would also be taken into consideration. As such, it is not imperative that those with impressive leads would be elevated. If one takes the leads along with regional balance factor, then the name of Rakesh Pathania, Nurpur MLA, comes to fore. With the BJP having got a lead of 35,170 from Nurpur, his claim for the ministry is being considered very strong. 

Moreover, a vacancy has been created due to Kapoor’s landslide win who also hailed from Kangra.

Interestingly, the segment of Nalagarh, from where the BJP’s lead of 39,970, is the highest in the state is represented by the Congress. Seraj, home turf of the Chief Minister is at the second place and Jogindernagar which 

got the third highest lead of 36,292 has an independent MLA. Shahpur, which is at the fourth position, has its MLA Sarveen Chaudhary already in the Cabinet. So Pathania is at the top in the list of probables.

Selection criteria

  • After elections, filling two vacancies in his Cabinet due to the resignation of Power Minister Anil Sharma and the victory of Food and Civil Supplies Minister Kishan Kapoor from Kangra will be the next target of the Chief Minister.
  • The single criteria for getting a ministerial berth will not just be the lead, but also a regional balance. 
  • Another factor while picking up ministers will be loyalty towards the Chief Minister.

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