Uttarakhand Chief Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank expanded his Cabinet on Wednesday. All the ministers that have been given the Cabinet rank were also a part of the Cabinet of his predecessor BC Khanduri. The changes that have been brought about are amongst the Ministers of State.
Those administered oaths as Cabinet ministers by the Governor B.L. Joshi on Wednesday included Prakash Pant who is the legislator from Pithoragarh,Trivendra Singh from Doiwala in Dehradun district,Rajendra Singh Bhandari from Nand Prayag in Chamoli district and Divakar Bhatt from Dev Prayag in Tehri district. While Bhandari is an independent legislator,Bhatt is a leader from the BJPs alliance partner Uttarakhand Kranti Dal.
The new faces inducted as Ministers of State with independent charge are Vijaya Barthwal who is a legislator from Yamkeshwar in Pauri district and Govind Singh Bisht who represents Dhari segment in Nainital district.
The legislator from Dhanaulti in Tehri district Khajan Das and Balwant Singh Bhauryal who represents Kanda segment in Bageshwar district have been inducted as Ministers of State and are also new faces.
Ajay Tamta,Beena Mahrana and Bansidhar Bhagat who were ministers for horticulture,women and child development and forests respectively in the Khanduri Cabinet did not find a place in Nishanks team.
Having been elevated from the rank of a Minister of State to that of a Cabinet minister in Khanduris team,Tamta was fielded as a Lok Sabha candidate from the Almora constituency by the BJP where he lost to the Congress Pradeep Tamta.
Earlier,Madan Kaushik,Bishen Singh Chauphal and Matbar Singh Kandari had taken oaths as Cabinet ministers along with Nishank on Saturday. In his team of twelve four ministers represent various segments in Kumaon region while the remaining are from Garhwal barring Kaushik who is from the Terai belt in the state.
After the oath taking ceremony at the Raj Bhawan,Nishank said,I am confident that my team will work for development and will deliver results for Mission 2012 (assembly polls).
By adding Prakash Pant as a Cabinet minister,Nishank has laid to rest speculations about the move to make him the speaker in the assembly. Pant was also in the race for becoming the Chief Minister of the state along with Nishank.
While Nishank had the backing of Khanduri and his subordinates,Pant was said to be the choice of the camp led by former Chief Minister and Khanduris arch rival Bhagat Singh Koshiyari.