By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 6 Jun: The new Chief Minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, has attempted to do what his predecessors deliberately avoided. He has handed over charge of heavyweight departments to senior ministers. While most portfolios held by his ministers in the Tirath Singh Rawat Government have been left intact, he has finally handed over charge of some crucial departments to his cabinet colleagues.
Number two in his cabinet Satpal Maharaj, while retaining all the departments he held during the Trivenda Singh and Tirath Singh Rawat governments, has been given additional charge of Public Works Department (PWD). Sources claim that he was more interested in the Department of Power, but that has been handed over to Harak Singh Rawat as an additional charge.
Another minister who has been trusted with charge of crucial departments is Dhan Singh Rawat, who has been given additional charge of Health & Family Welfare as well as Medical Education. Senior Minister Yashpal Arya has been given additional charge of Excise, which was held by the CM in the past two regimes, especially after the demise of the then Excise Minister, Prakash Pant.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, for a change, has chosen to keep merely 15 departments, including those of Home, Information, Technical Education, Vigilance, Finance & Planning, etc. In the Trivendra Singh Rawat Government, Finance and Excise were held by Prakash Pant, but after his death, they were held by the CM, himself. Law & Justice Department, Industry and Mining have also been retained by Dhami. It may be recalled that the then CM, Trivendra Singh Rawat, had retained charge of over 40 departments including those of Power, PWD and Health. He had to face criticism because he chose to retain charge of Health Department even during the first wave of Corona, when it was felt by most that the state needed a separate health minister.
Political observers feel that it is a good beginning by Dhami, who has to devote more time to electioneering rather than just get busy with file work, as just about 7 months remain for the elections to be declared. Now it remains to be seen for how long Dhami continues to remain in action mode.