DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand state Cabinet is soon likely to be expanded to fill the seats which lie vacant.
At present, the Cabinet has total nine ministers including the chief minister of the state, said sources from Bhartiya Janta Party and the state government.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, commenting on the issue said, "The expansion of the Cabinet was delayed due to Covid 19 epidemic. Details were already discussed with senior party leaders in Delhi in February. Cabinet explanation will be done soon once the situation normalises."
Out of total 12 Cabinet berths, three still remain vacant. Ten-member Cabinet took oath including the CM himself in 2017 when the BJP won the assembly elections.
Two Cabinet berths were left vacant in the Cabinet at the time of oath while another was created due to demise of the then Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prakash Pant due to cancer in June 2019.
Death of Pant was followed by speculations of expansions but nothing of the sorts took place.
Sources from inside the government told TNIE that there are chances of change in portfolios of many current ministers.
At present, total six out of 9 ministers are from Garhwal division of the state. "At least 2 or all the 3 ministers will be from Kumaon division of the state to provide balance and give proper representation to both the regions," added a senior member of the Cabinet.
Uttarakhand has two divisions, Kumaon and Garhwal with 6 and 7 districts respectively.
The party insiders claim that MLAs who have held the position in the past such as Harbans Kapoor, Bishan Singh Chufal are strong contenders.
One of the strongest contender and six time MLA from Kaladhungi state assembly seat, Bansidhar Bhagat was appointed BJP state president in January, earlier this year.
Other names which are being discussed include Mahendra Bhatt, Surendra Singh Jeena, Pushkar Singh Dhami, Balwant Singh Bhauryal, Khajan Das, Munna Singh Chauhan and Harbhajan Singh Cheema.