By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 7 Jul: Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal today resigned as Cabinet Minister hours ahead of the major rejig of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers.
He was not the only cabinet minister to go before the ministerial reshuffle. Other senior ministers including Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Information Minister Prakash Javadekar and Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan were also asked to go. In all, more than a dozen ministers resigned today just before the rejig of the Modi’s Cabinet.
However, Nishank claimed to have resigned on health grounds rather than being asked to resign. Sources close to him have confirmed that he has not fully recovered from the Covid infection even after his discharge from AIIMS Delhi just days ago. In fact, he had been admitted at AIIMS for the second time since he was infected with Covid.
Uttarakhand is now represented in the Modi Government by Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar MP Ajay Bhatt, who was sworn in as a Minister of State. Earlier, it was being speculated that the recently ousted CM Tirath Singh Rawat could also be accommodated in the government but that did not happen.
Ajay Bhatt is a first time MP though he had been a several time MLA from Ranikhet (District Almora).
Earlier, in the interim Government in Uttarakhand, he was the health minister between November 2000 and March 2002. Later, he also put in two terms as President of Uttarakhand BJP besides having been the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly from 2012 till 2017. However, he lost the 2017 assembly election and lost the chance to become a cabinet minister or chief minister in Uttarakhand.
However, after the then Nainital MP, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, declared that he would not be contesting the 2019 Lok Sabhapolls, Bhatt was made the BJP candidate in 2019 and won. However, he could not make it to the post of minister in the Modi Government, then.