Home Dehradun Govt likely to make Lal Batti appointments soon

Govt likely to make Lal Batti appointments soon

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By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 7 Feb: Finally, after much dillydallying, the government has begun the exercise to make Lal Batti appointments in the state. Sources confirmed that the government has sought details of vacancies in various departments, corporations, commissions, committees and other bodies including the PSUs where the Lal Batti appointments can be made. So, it is now expected that the government may soon begin making appointments on Lal Batti posts rather soon. Sources in the government as well as in the BJP claimed that the Lal Batti appointments will be made in phases and not in one go. Sources said that a three day time period has been given to the departments, corporations, PSUs and commissions to provide the details of the posts where the dignitaries can be adjusted.

Sources claim that Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami does not wish to commit the same mistake as his predecessor Trivendra Singh Rawat, who had made a bare minimum number of Lal Batti appointments during the four year period that he remained the Chief Minister. In fact, for most of the time Trivendra Singh Rawat was the CM, three to four berths in his council of ministers also remained vacant. Rawat was handling as many as 45 important portfolios as the CM including the PWD, Health, Power, Industry, and even Finance and Home. He had continued to hold charge as the Health Minister even at the peak of the Corona pandemic when the people felt that a full time health minister was the need of the hour. With respect to the Lal Batti posts, too, he chose to keep the aspirants within the BJP waiting. Barely a handful of Lal Batti appointments had been made by him and even those were made after three years. This had turned Trivendra Singh Rawat into a highly unpopular leader within the party, and the Party High Command had sensed this well in time to replace him and win the next assembly elections again.

The Dhami Government may also choose to keep certain important Lal Batti posts vacant for more time and keep many aspirants waiting but most of the vacancies are likely to be filled rather soon. Sources close to Dhami claim that he does not wish to become unpopular within his own party and therefore does not see any reason not to make the appointments soon.

It may be recalled that BJP State President Mahendra Bhatt has been claiming since last year that Lal Batti appointments will be made soon. Sources add that a list of possible names for appointment had been prepared before Diwali last year by the party after discussions at the state level and even at the Central level. However, barely a couple of appointments could be made. Appointment of Kailash Gahtodi as Chairman of Uttarakhand Forest Corporation Ltd was a gift given by the CM in return for his vacating the Champawat Assembly constituency after winning it for the second time in a row to enable CM Dhami to contest the bypoll from there as he had lost his own election from Khatima constituency. In addition, BJP leader Shadab Shams was appointed as Chairman of the Uttarakhand Wafq Board. Some more appointments were made including some on the constitutional posts such as appointment of Dr Geeta Khanna as Chairperson of Child Rights Protection Commission and Kusum Kandwal as the Chairperson of Uttarakhand Women’s Commission.

Sources in the state administration said that a letter has been issued to all the Additional Chief Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and Secretaries in charge of various departments to provide the details of the posts where Lal Batti appointments can be made. Such Lal Batti posts can include positions such as Chairperson, Vice Chairpersons, Advisors and members in various Corporations, Committees, PSUs, etc.

According to sources, the party and the government have reached agreement on the Lal Batti posts and the details have also been discussed with the Party High Command and the BJP leaders in charge of party affairs in Uttarakhand. Some decisions were formalised also during the recently held State Executive meet of the BJP in Raiwala.  Sources added that the party also does not wish to keep all the aspirants waiting for ever as the Lok Sabha elections are also drawing near and the central leadership wants the party to remain united to ensure a repeat of winning all the five Lok Sabha seats from Uttarakhand.