The induction of Khimi Ram into the Prem Kumar Dhumal ministry shortly after his replacement as state party chief was a quiet affair and seemed to be more of a damage control exercise. Dhumal took a hasty decision to make him a minister,seemingly to rebuff his detractors whose knives were out for Khimi Ram,who has never enjoyed wider acceptability in the party ranks. In the end it proved to be a smooth switching of roles for Khimi Ram he was made a minister even before new state BJP president Satpal Satti took charge. Thats why many believe Khimi Ram is truly a symbol of khema (factional politics) in the saffron party rather than an emerging party leader from Kullu,where rebel BJP leader Maheshwar Singh wields considerable clout.
Faced with the shortage of IAS officers in the middle ranks of bureaucracy,the Prem Kumar Dhumal government had last year picked officers of Indian Forest Service (IFS) for their postings in the secretariat and some PSUs. The IPS officers also filled in a few high-profile slots. But barring a few who managed to adjust in the new culture and managed their survival,the rest are getting quietly pushed back to their parent departments,one after the other. The unceremonious exit of Vineet Kumar,managing director of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Corporation,is the latest case in this regard.
Looking for advisor
After having filled in the lone Cabinet vacancy created by J P Naddas elevation as the BJPs national general secretary in 2010,Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is on the lookout fort his political advisor,preferably an MLA. Though he does not require one to advise him on political matters,the move could accommodate one sitting MLA,who otherwise could not be made a minister. The CM is reported to have made this offer to Suresh Bhardwaj,Shimla MLA and former Rajya Sabha member who spurned the offer as he is sticking to his claim for a ministerial berth ahead of the Shimla Municipal Corporation polls. Who next on Dhumals radar just watch out!
There is another coveted post for which the race is hotting up. Chief Secretary Rajwant Sandhu retires next month,and most of the eligible candidates are pushing their cases and waiting for a call with bated breaths. Last week,a top bureaucrat sought an appointment with Dhumal in Delhi. Another claimant for the post got some clues about this,and he also forwarded his case. Whats the harm in putting forward your claim? At least the CM should know that the choice is wide open both amongst those serving outside and within the state, he was overheard telling one of his friends.
Anna no manna?
Even as Dhumal has claimed to have consulted and invited Team Anna to Shimla to discuss the draft Bill on amending the State Lokayukta Act,enacted in 1983,Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday named Himachal Pradesh among the BJP-ruled states afflicted by corruption. This may put Dhumal on the back foot and under attack from left,right and centre.