Bahuguna keeps Home, Power, Hridayesh new FM

Dehra Dun: After days of dithering in the wake of pressure from several quarters for plum departments, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna today allocated porfolios to his ministers keeping 20 departments including vital Home, Power and Industries with himself. Bahuguna, who took oath on March 13 and expanded his ministry seven days later, will also be in charge of other important departments like Information, Excise, Forest and Environment, Eradication of Corruption, Housing and Education.

Indira Hridayesh, the only minister who was given the portfolios of Parliamentary Affairs and Law last week, will be the new Finance Minister. He will also hold the additional charge of Census, an official announcement said. Uttarakhand Congress chief Yashpal Arya has been given Irrigation, Revenue, Rehabilitation, Watershed Management, Disaster Management and Cooperative.

Surendra Singh Negi, a loyalist of Union Minister Harish Rawat who raised the banner of revolt in the state Congress against the choice of Bahuguna for the top job, will look after Health, Family Welfare, Ayush, Science and Technology, Biotechnology, Sugar and Sugarcane Development.

Pritam Singh, another Rawat loyalist, has been entrusted with the responsibility of Food and Civil Supply and Small Irrigation, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. Bahguna, who met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in Delhi yesterday, has come under pressure from several quarters in the faction-ridden Congress which demanded plum departments making the portfolio-allocation a tricky exercise.