After the arrest of Sukhdev Singh Namdhari in the infamous Ponty-Hardeep Chadha murder case; the growing clamour for Lal batti, the ministerial-rank posts, which are considered as the symbol of power and status, is beginning to haunt Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna.
Last month, Bahuguna sacked Namdhari from the post of chairman of the state minorities commission, soon after his arrest in the twin murder-case at the Chattarpur farmhouse in New Delhi.
With scores of politicians demanding ministerial-rank posts that come with red beacon-fitted cars, the Ponty Chadha murder case has put a damper on the move with the chief minister stating, that only leaders with a clean image would get these posts.
Unlike in the previous governments, where these posts had gone up beyond the 100-mark, Bahuguna is likely to keep the number of such posts below 50 in view of the burgeoning non-plan expenditure and also to follow the objectives of fiscal responsibility and budgetary management (FRBM) Act, official sources said.
A group of state Congress leaders led by party state vice president Suryakant Dhasmana had demanded removal of the BJP-backed Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, a close associate of the murdered liquor tycoon Ponty Chadha, from the post of chairman of the state minorities commission, a move that immediately led to his sacking.
Though Bahuguna has given such posts to only a couple of party MLAs, state Congress chief and revenue minister Yashpal Arya is putting pressure on Bahuguna to give more such posts to the party leaders in order to keep them in good humour.
“If we have to perform well in the 2014 parliamentary elections, we must honour our party leaders with these posts,” said a top Congress leader.
Last week, Bahuguna made Congress MLA Ganesh Godiyal as chairman of the Badrinath-Kedarnath temple committee in addition to the responsibility of parliamentary secretary.