By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 2 Apr: All those appointed to Lal Batti posts during the four year term of former Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat have been removed from their posts with immediate effect. Orders to this effect were issued today by the Cabinet Department under the signature of Chief Secretary Om Prakash, as directed by the new Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat. However, those who had been appointed to constitutional posts will continue to remain in office. The order specifically states that barring those in constitutional positions for a fixed term, the appointment of all others including advisors, chairmen and vice chairmen in boards, corporations, etc., stands cancelled.
Sources in the government claimed that there were about 100 such appointees. Among them, there were around ten holding rank equivalent to Cabinet ministers, while there were around 25 others with ranks equivalent to minister of state. Besides these, there were more than sixty others who were appointed either as chairpersons, deputy chairpersons, advisors to the then CM or in other departments and corporations or councils, etc. All those removed were non-government officials.
Ironically, the majority of the appointees removed today had been appointed less than a year ago and enjoyed the perks of office for quite a short while. Sources in the BJP claim that the then CM, Trivendra Singh Rawat, had remained indecisive and non-committal regarding Lal Batti appointments for a two year period and had appointed some only about two years ago. The sources remind that Trivendra Singh Rawat was rather late in obliging party workers and some non-BJP persons close to him. Besides this, he rarely consulted senior party leaders and the organisation regarding such appointments and, therefore, there was a lot of resentment among many senior party workers, who had been expecting to be obliged by the then government.
Sources close to the new government claim that the present Chief Minister has already started consultations within the party regarding fresh appointments to the Lal Batti posts and that only dedicated party workers are being considered. Sources further claim that, with polls less than a year away, the number of fresh Lal Batti appointments is likely to remain rather restricted! Even under normal circumstances, the general public perception is usually against such large scale appointments as people view them as a burden on the state exchequer. However, many who have been removed by today’s orders have already started lobbying for renewal of their appointments.
Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat, who is presently self-quarantined due to Covid-19 infection, is likely to remain in quarantine up to 6 April. Orders regarding fresh appointments to LalBatti posts are expected any day after that date