Uttarakhand Cong downplays deputy CM issue

Dehra Dun: After winning the crucial trust vote, Uttarakhand Congress today said it has not officially received any proposal for creating post of deputy chief minister, though union minister Harish Rawat stuck to his demand for creation of the post.

"No proposal regarding the post of deputy chief minister has officially come before the party high command," said Birender Singh, who is Congress general secretary and in-charge of state`s party affairs. When asked whether senior party leader Harak Singh Rawat would be inducted as deputy chief minister, Singh remained non-committal saying let such proposal come officially.

On the vacant single cabinet berth, he said it was upto the Chief Minister to take a decision. "This is the discretion of the Chief Minister. He can keep the post vacant for months together," said Singh. Significantly, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna had yesterday said there were many aspirants for the berth and the party high command would take a decision on the matter.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Harish Rawat, who reached here on the invitation of Bahuguna, maintained that he wanted at least one post of deputy chief minister in Uttarakhand. "I still stand by my stand that there should be a deputy chief minister in Uttarakhand," he told reporters. After taking oath alone on March 13, Bahguna had expanded his cabinet on March 18 by inducting 10 ministers. However, one berth is vacant and there are speculations that Harak Singh Rawat would be inducted as deputy Chief Minister. PTI DPT