Himachal Cabinet Expanded; Dharmani, Goma Inducted in Sukhu Govt – News18

Last Updated: December 13, 2023, 00:01 IST

Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.
(Image: PTI/File)

Sukhu said efforts have been made to balance the caste and region and the lone Congress MLA from Mandi district, Chandershekher, would be accommodated soon

The one-year-old Himachal Pradesh Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu was expanded on Tuesday with the induction of Rajesh Dharmani and Yadvinder Goma as cabinet ministers.

Sukhu said efforts have been made to balance the caste and region and the lone Congress MLA from Mandi district, Chandershekher, would be accommodated soon.

One ministerial berth in the cabinet is still vacant and will be filled soon, the chief minister told reporters here. He also indicated reshuffle in portfolios of ministers.

The much awaited expansion of the state cabinet took place a day after the Congress government completed its one year on Monday. With this, the cabinet’s strength has now increased to 11.

Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla administered the oath of office to the newly inducted ministers at a ceremony at the Raj Bhawan here in the presence of Chief Minister Sukhu and other cabinet ministers. The governor, who was in Delhi, reached Shimla on Tuesday for the oath ceremony.

Dharmani (51) is a former chief parliamentary secretary and a three-time MLA from Ghumarwin, while Goma (37) is a two-time legislator from Jaisinghpur. Both the leaders hold engineering and MBA degrees.

After the swearing-in of Chief Minister Sukhu and Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri on December 11 last year, the cabinet was expanded on January 8 with the induction of seven cabinet ministers.

With the inclusion of Dharmani, Bilaspur district has got representation in the government while through Goma, the under-represented Kangra district with 10 Congress MLAs has got one more minister.

The total strength of the Himachal cabinet is 12 and one berth is still vacant, while the election of the deputy speaker of the state assembly is pending. Chief Minister Sukhu had also appointed six chief parliamentary secretaries, ahead of first expansion in January.

After the latest expansion, the cabinet consists of five ministers from the Rajput community, including the chief minister, two from Brahmin including deputy CM, two from scheduled castes, and one each from other backward classes and schedule tribe.

The Shimla parliamentary constituency with five cabinet ministers has the lion’s share in the cabinet while Hamirpur and Kangra constituencies have three and two ministers, respectively.

Dharmani has earlier held several posts including secretary of HP Congress Committee, vice president of HP Youth Congress, AICC secretary and secretary and convener of Technical Cell NSUI. He is presently nominated as Chairman, Human Development Committee and member of Public Accounts and e-Governance-cum-General Purposes Committees.

Goma was general secretary, State Rajeev Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sangathan from 2011-2014 and president, HP Congress SC Cell from 2019-2021. He was also nominated as chairman, Subordinate Legislation Committee, and member, Welfare and Rules Committees.

The Congress won 40 out of 68 assembly seats in the 2022 polls.

District wise, three ministers are from Shimla, followed by two from Kangra and one each from Hamirpur, Solan, Sirmaur, Una, Bilapsur and Kinnaur while Mandi, Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti districts are unrepresented in the cabinet.

Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Pathania is from Bhatiyyat in Chamba district.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)