By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 23 Mar: Uttarakhand can have a total strength of 12 ministers including the Chief Minister. However, to begin with, only 8 ministers excluding the CM took oath of office today, leaving 3 vacancies in the Council of Ministers. It remains to be seen when these vacancies will be filled.
It may be recalled that during Trivendra Singh’s term as CM, he was unable to fill all the vacancies.
It is interesting to note that several leaders who had been in the past associated with the Congress made it into the Cabinet again. They are Satpal Maharaj, Subodh Uniyal, Rekha Arya and Saurabh Bahuguna. In the previous government, Satpal Maharaj, Harak Singh Rawat, Subodh Uniyal, Yashpal Arya and Rekha Arya were ministers and all had a Congress background. So it can be said that the new government too has a fair amount of representation of those who were previously associated with the Congress.
Those who were able to make it to the Cabinet today were –
Satpal Maharaj has won from the Chaubattakhal seat. He was a cabinet minister in the BJP government in 2017. Before that he was active in Congress and had switched over to BJP in 2014. Satpal Maharaj is also a spiritual guru. Maharaj has also been a minister of state in the Deve Gowda and Gujral governments at the Centre.
BJP MLA Premchand Agarwal took oath in Sanskrit. He was the Speaker of the fourth state assembly. He contested from Rishikesh seat. He is a fourth term MLA.
Ganesh Joshi is originally from Pithoragarh district. He was born in 1958 in Meerut. Ganesh Joshi served in the Indian Army as a soldier. He is also a four time MLA and was elected MLA in 2007 for the first time.
Dhan Singh Rawat
Dhan Singh Rawat has become MLA for the second consecutive time from Srinagar seat of Pauri district. He was the Minister of Higher Education and Health in the previous Dhami Government. He has become a minister for the second time in the Dhami government. He is a PhD degree holder.
Subodh Uniyal is an MLA from Narendranagar assembly seat of Tehri district. He has won this seat third time in a row. He was in the Congress party when he had for the first time won the MLA’s election in 2002 and later in 2012. However, he switched over to BJP in 2016 and won the 2017 polls on the BJP ticket. He was the Agriculture Minister in the Government of Uttarakhand.
Rekha Arya is the MLA from Someshwar. Rekha Arya became a Zila Panchayat member for the first time in 2003. In 2012, she contested from Someshwar Vidhan Sabha. She contested as an independent candidate and came second. After that she joined the Congress. In 2014, Rekha Arya contested and won the by-election on a Congress ticket from Someshwar Vidhan Sabha seat. In 2017, just before the assembly elections, Rekha Arya joined the BJP and reached the assembly on a BJP ticket. BJP made her a minister of state and in the Dhami Government, she was made a cabinet minister.
Chandan Ram Das
Chandan Ram Das is the MLA from Bageshwar. He has joined the cabinet for the first time. Chandan Ram Das has been MLA for four consecutive terms. He is very popular in his constituency and has been winning the elections continuously since 2007. He is known for his humble nature.
Saurabh Bahuguna took oath as a minister for the first time in the Dhami government. A second time MLA from Sitarganj, Saurabh Bahuguna is the son of former Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna. Saurabh has become a minister for the first time.