Delay in formation of new Cabinet in Himachal Pradesh is giving sleepless nights to aspirant MLAs seeking Cabinet berths in the recently formed Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu led Congress government.
Though Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri took oath on December 11, three days after declaration of election result on December 8, the new Cabinet has still not been formed yet even after 18 days.
At present departments of Irrigation and Public Health and Transport are with Deputy CM Mukesh Agnihotri and all other departments are being looked after by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.
The Congress has returned to power by winning 40 seats in the house of 68 in the HP Assembly after a gap of five years.
Since there were many contenders for the post of Chief Minister and hectic lobbying also took place but election of CM and Deputy CM was a smoother affair than expected .
However, the Cabinet formation is proving to be a very ticklish affair for Congress leadership and Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu. Since Congress leadership will have to keep seniority, regional and caste factors in mind to keep different lobbyists in good stead for smooth functioning of the new government, the task of Cabinet formation is proving to be quite difficult.
The Congress has won majority seats from two districts .i.e. Kangra and Shimla districts and giving representation to MLAs from these two districts would be a challenge. From Kangra district it would be difficult to accommodate first time MLAs RS Bali and Kewal Singh Pathania. Similarly, in Hamirpur district it would be a hard choice to accommodate ID Lakhanpal and Rajender Rana (both third time MLAs).
In Shimla district claims of Vikramaditya Singh son of Virbhadra Singh, four times MLA Anirudh Singh, three times MLA Rohit Thakur and former PCC president Kuldeep Singh Rathour would be difficult to ignore.
The CM would be hard pressed to accommodate senior leaders like Dhani Ram Shandil, Chander Kumar, Kuldeep Pathania and Jagat Singh Negi.
A Congress source said, “In-charge of Congress affairs in Himachal Rajiv Shukla would be coming to Shimla on January 2nd and the new Cabinet is likely to be finalized in the first week of the New Year.”