Chief Minister Dhumal To Expand Himachal Cabinet

Central Parliamentary Secretary & Parliamentary Secretary’s To Be Inducted

Shimla: Eighteen months after forming his second government, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is to expand his ministry on Thursday morning, inducting two cabinet ministers and an unspecified number of central parliamentary secretaries (CPS) and parliamentary secretaries (PS).

A government spokesman said that swearing-in of the ministers at the Raj Bhavan at 10.30 in the morning would be preceded by swearing in of CPS and PS in the state secretariat.

Hectic lobbying was on to find a ministerial berth with one BJP legislator refusing to take up a position other than a cabinet berth.

Sources privy to the developments said that “top leaders are meeting at the chief minister residence later in the evening to finalise the names of two ministers as well as deliberate upon the options of inducting central parliamentary secretaries and parliamentary secretaries, the source said.

Likelihood of party president Jai Ram Thakur being inducted as a cabinet minister was doing the rounds to give due representation for the party in Mandi district.

Excluding the chief minister, the law permits 11 cabinet ministers in Himachal and presently there are only 9 ministers.

Dhumal who had sounded that an expansion was imminent before the Lok Sabha polls, deferred the exercise to after the elections and was able to avert internal bickering from casting a shadow on voting.

Having won three of the four parliamentary seats the BJP central executive committee that met at Delhi on 20 – 21st June gave Dhumal the nod needed to expand the ministry.

Given the chief ministers auspiciousness attached to 9 numeral, the cabinet is to be expanded on 9th July.

As BJP gained a lead in as many as 48 of the 68 assembly segments, in the recently concluded general parliamentary elections, task of inducting two cabinet inductions on the basis of performances put up is bound to ruffle feathers.

Before the elections, the chief minister had indicated the two cabinet berths would be filled from Una and Mandi districts to give due representation to all regions.

Gulab Singh, a close relative of the chief minister, is the sole cabinet minister from Mandi district, while Una district has none.

Other than Jai Ram Thakur, other names doing the rounds include Roop Singh Thakur, Mohinder Singh, Satpal Satti, Virender Kanwar and Hari Narain Singh Saini.

With BJP having made handsome gains in Shimla parliamentary seat, winning the seat the first time and marking a sweeping lead on all assembly seats in Sirmaur district, hopes are being pinned that a CPS or a PS from the district may find a place at the swearing-in ceremony in the morning.

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