Himachal Prad-esh cabinet expansion second after Prem Kumar Dhumal was sworn in as chief minister in 2007 could be last before the Assembly polls slated later this year,but may not offer BJP the best solution for the ongoing crisis triggered by rebellion within the party.
Even as cries of Jai Shri Ram by supporters of newly inducted minister Khimi Ram rang loud at the historic Darbar Hall of the Raj Bhawan much to the embarrassment of Dhumal sulking Shimla MLA Suresh Bhardwaj,former CM Shanta Kumar and his loyalists were conspicuous by their absence during the ceremony.
Many BJP leaders couldnt participate in the ceremony as it was held at very short notice, Dhumal told reporters on being asked about a number of legislators,including Bharadwaj,not being present.
However,the Shimla MLA,told Indian express that he thought of staying back home as I did not feel like going to the ceremony. Bharadwaj is sulking,as sources said,he was hoping to be inducted in the cabinet especially as the party high command had cleared his name a few months ago.
A former Rajya Sabha member and former state party president,Bharadwaj,however said he had no regrets on not making it the cabinet as he would remain busy with the upcoming Shimla Municipal Corporation elections in May 2012 and later the state Assembly elections.
Many other party MLAs too are not very enthusiastic on Rams induction. He was preferred over others as he had remained more committed to Dhumal sahib than to the party. It was under his leadership that the senior BJP leaders resigned and floated their own political outfit. It is a failure on his part to keep the flock together, a BJP legislator said requesting anonymity.
Spokesman for the newly-floated Himachal Lokhit Party,Mohinder Singh,too flayed the newly inducted forest minister.
Khimi Ram has been aptly rewarded for his incompetence as party president. Dhumal hurried up his induction to ensure that the high command could not suggest the name of a able and competent person.
Notably,senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar has gone completely silent on the developments unfolding in the state.