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Rawat ignores BJP MLAs in key Uttarakhand appointments

Ignoring BJP MLAs, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has given top posts in various government corporations and bodies to 19 BJP leaders before the election code of conduct comes into effect.

A list released by the Chief Minister's office on Thursday included only two prominent state leaders, Balraj Passi and Jyoti Prasad Gairola, have been given posts that accord them Cabinet ranks, BJP sources said.

The remaining 17 party leaders have been given posts equivalent to the minister of state rank, they said. Last year, the Chief Minister had given 14 such posts to party leaders.

The list has left party MLAs sulking, as many as 45 of whom haven't found a place in the state Cabinet.

The BJP has a brute strength of 57 MLAs in the 70-member state Assembly with 10 serving in the council of the ministers.

State BJP President Ajay Bhatt has assured that one more such list may come in the days ahead. "Either now or after the elections, you may see one more list," said Bhatt.

Bhatt also assured that the issue of appointing party MLAs to such posts would be discussed soon.

In the past, MLAs who could not be accomodated in the Cabinet, were appeased with their appointment as parliamentary secretaries. The post, attached to a government department, has the rank of Minister of State alongwith the same entitlements.

However, with the legal wrangling over appointment of MLAs as parliamentary secretaries in some states, the Uttarakhand government is avoiding awarding it to party MLAs.

Significantly, two berths in the state cabinet are still vacant.

Former Speaker and 8-time MLA Harbans Kapoor, four-time MLAs Munna Singh Chauhan and Harbhajan Singh Cheema, former state party chief Bishan Singh Chufal, former cabinet minister Bansidhar Bhagat are all reportedly miffed over being ignored in the appointments.

They are all, however, guarded in their comments. "I will do justice to any responsibility that comes to me. But then if a person has the zeal to work, he does not need any responsibility," said Cheema, an MLA from Kashipur.

Kapoor, an MLA from Dehradun city, said: "I am doing my job but I am also ready to take any responsibility if the top leadership decides so."

The Chief Minister is reportedly not too keen to placate all the MLAs.

"There are 47 MLAs who have not got any responsibility so far. We cannot make everybody happy as the posts are few," said a top BJP leader.

--IANS

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