In a bid to ward off any threat to his government which enjoys a thin majority in the state assembly, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat today made seven Congress MLAs parliamentary secretaries, saying their elevation will pace up development of Uttarakhand. At a simple swearing-in held here just a day ahead of the Lok Sabha poll results, Rawat administered the oath of office and secrecy on Umesh Sharma Kau, Rajkumar, Madan Singh Bisht, Shailarani Rawat, Sarita Arya, Vikram Singh Negi and Jeetram as parliamentary secretaries.
Most of these MLAs belong to anti-Harish Rawat camp of the Congress, bearing allegiance either to his predecessor Vijay Bahuguna, party veteran N D Tiwari or former party heavyweight Satpal Maharaj who recently defected to BJP. Ever since Satpal's defection to BJP, speculation was rife that MLAs loyal to him could create trouble for Rawat. It was being said that they were only biding their time and could do something explosive just after Lok Sabha results are out.
It is being seen as a smart political move by Rawat to ensure longevity of his government. Congress has 33 members in the 70-member state assembly and survives on the prop of seven-member PDF. However, soon after administering oath of office and secrecy to them, Rawat said elevation of these MLAs will put their abilities to best use and help boost development in Uttarakhand. The ceremony was attended by Vijay Bahuguna, Assembly Deputy Speaker Anusuya Prasad Maikhuri, Pradesh Congress president Yashpal Arya and cabinet ministers Amrita Rawat and S S Negi.