DEHRADUN: Speculations about a possible cabinet expansion in Uttarakhand started once again when Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said on Wednesday that there was nothing unnatural about such expectations in the given circumstances.
In the last four years after the BJP stormed to power in Uttarakhand with a thumping majority in 2017, speculations about a cabinet expansion rose and died several times without reaching a logical conclusion.
“There is nothing unnatural in this,” Rawat told reporters when asked whether a possible cabinet expansion was likely on his return from New Delhi after meeting senior party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda.
“There are vacancies in the cabinet at present. Speculations about an expansion are only natural. I have met the prime minister, the party president and several other ministers, there is nothing unnatural if speculations are agog about it,” Rawat said.
Asked whether a cabinet expansion could be expected he said, “Definitely”.
The Trivendra Singh Rawat government assumed office on March 18, 2017 with only a 10-member cabinet against a stipulated size of 12 ministers.
The two vacant cabinet berths were never filled after that.
With the death of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prakash Pant, who held several other key portfolios, in June 2019, the number of vacancies in the state cabinet rose to three.
After Pant’s sudden death, political circles here were agog with speculations about a cabinet expansion but they died with Urban Development Minister Madan Kaushik given the charge of Parliamentary Affairs in addition to his other responsibilities.
Last year speculations about it began again when the chief minister said ministers were overburdened with a number of portfolios together and the need for filling the vacancies in the cabinet was being felt.
However, nothing finally came out of all those speculations.
Talks about a possible cabinet have begun again at a time when elections are due in the state next year.