By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 13 Sep: Sources in the BJP today claimed that the differences between Social Welfare Minister Yashpal Arya and Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat have been “resolved” and now Arya, who had threatened to resign from the cabinet, would not do so. They claimed that the matters between the two were settled in a late last night meeting the two BJP leaders. Sources admitted that the differences had been simmering between the two for quite some time but recently came out into the open when Arya threatened to resign from the Cabinet over the new reservation roster that was implemented recently. Arya was not happy with the new roster, but was also “unhappy” because it was implemented before the 11 September Cabinet Meeting. However, the minister will not, now, press for his resignation, sources added. Uttarakhand is one state with a predominant ‘upper caste’ majority. Therefore, the issue of reservation always manages to stir up controversies that are not commonly seen in other states in the country. While the governments in other states usually favour strong implementation of the reservation policy, in Uttarakhand, they have to tread a very cautious path which must appear to be a balanced approach.Reservation is a sensitive issue and, in particular, reservation in the case of promotions is even more sensitive. The ongoing tussle between Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and Social Welfare Minister Yashpal Arya on this issue is therefore not surprising at all. It may be recalled that Yashpal Arya had reportedly threatened to resign from the Cabinet if the reservation policy is not implemented in the ‘right spirit’ and in an earnest manner. It may noted that following a cabinet decision, a fresh roster of reservation for direct recruitment posts has been issued by the government and, in the case of many posts and category of posts, the first slot of reservation has slipped to sixth from the first place. This has enraged not only several organisations related to SC or ST communities and several MLAs from the SC and ST communities, but also some ministers from the reserved categories. Arya, who is always known to be vocal in matters of reservations even when he was a cabinet minister in the previous Congress government, has expressed strong opposition to the government decision on the fresh roster of reservations. In addition, he has also expressed his disapproval of the government’s recent decision regarding reservations in promotion. It would be pertinent to mention, here, that the Uttarakhand High Court, too, has been inconsistent in its approach towards reservations in promotions. While in a judgement delivered on 5 September, 2012, it had ordered all reservations in promotion to be stopped with immediate effect, a fresh judgement delivered in the month of April this year directed the government to implement reservations in promotions, too. However, many petitions either opposing reservation in promotions or demanding their implementation are pending in the High Court as well as in the Supreme Court. A review petition is also pending in this matter as well, as the government is also yet to formulate a policy in this regard. Sources claim that the government is awaiting final decisions of the High Court as well as the Supreme Court in this regard. Initially, under pressure from many unions and associations of government employees in the state, the government had ordered promotions to be carried out without any reservation. This decision too had earned the ire of the Dalit MLAs in the state cutting across party lines. Arya and the other Dalit minister, Rekha Arya, too, had expressed their ire at the doing away of reservation in promotion. However, many unions and associations of government employees are strongly opposed to such reservations since they lead to a situation where one’s junior may become one’s boss and that too not on the basis of merit but simply because of that person’s caste or tribe! Such situations can be highly demoralising for many hard working and efficient officials, the unions feel. It is for this reason that the government had recently ordered implementation of promotion without the consideration of reservations but on the basis of seniority and merit only. However, since the issue has now acquired political form, the government has now decided to withhold all promotions till a new policy is formulated or till the courts take a final call on reservations in promotion! Meanwhile, sources in the BJP claim that there are other reasons also behind the tussle between CM Trivendra Singh Rawat and Minister Yashpal Arya. Some even claim that there have been cold vibes between the CM and Arya for some time now. In informal chats with some media persons, Arya has admitted this. Sources go to the extent of claiming that the CM has cold vibes with several other ministers as well. On the other hand, sources close to the CM today claimed that the matter had been sorted out between the CM and Arya late last night. Hence, Arya would not press for his resignation as of now. On his part, the CM too has agreed to form a Cabinet Sub- Committee to look into the reservation roster as well as into reservations in promotion. Till then all the promotions in the government departments would be kept on hold.