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B.L. Santhosh heads to Uttarakhand amid growing troubles in government

Uttarakhand BJP unit is in trouble over recruitment scam and Ankita Bhandari murder case

September 30, 2022 03:59 pm | Updated 04:44 pm IST - NEW DELHI

BJP general secretary (organisation) B.L. Santhosh. File

BJP general secretary (organisation) B.L. Santhosh. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu photo library

Amid growing troubles for the Pushkar Singh Dhami-led Uttarakhand government, with the recruitment scam and arrest of Pulkit Arya, son of BJP leader Vinod Arya in the Ankita Bhandari murder case, BJP general secretary (organisation) B.L. Santhosh reached Dehradun on Friday.

Mr. Santhosh's visit comes after several Uttarakhand BJP leaders, including Pushkar Singh Dhami, made the rounds of Delhi holding meetings with senior national leaders over the plunging popularity of the party's government in Uttarakhand. While the reason for Mr. Santhosh's visit is being touted as a routine attendance of a function by the party's Kisan Morcha (farmers cell), he was closeted for almost four hours with BJP Uttarakhand leaders (with a noticeable absentee being Mr. Dhami) and spoke on issues related to party discipline.

The BJP's central leadership has been worried over the situation in Uttarakhand where it was re-elected against much odds in the recently concluded Assembly polls. Mr. Dhami, followed by state Uttarakhand chief Mahendra Bhatt were called to Delhi, followed by senior ministers Dhan Singh Rawat and Satpal Maharaj and senior leader Munna Singh Rawat.

The recruitment scam, which has been on at two levels, that is, irregularities in recruitments made in various state government departments and allegations of nepotism at a massive scale in recruitments made to the state Assembly by different speakers has hit the government hard. "There is a lot of pressure to sack Prem Chand Agarwal from the state Cabinet, as much of the irregularities in recruitment to the state Assembly were during his tenure as Speaker," said a source.

A senior leader of the state unit added that Mr. Santhosh may also discuss the nitty gritties of a reshuffle in the state Cabinet. "As of now, there are three vacancies in the Cabinet, and there is talk that in total six ministers are to be decided on," said the source.

The results, a couple of days ago, of the gram panchayat polls in Haridwar, with the BJP getting 13 out of 44 sets and independents winning 17 seats have also worried the leadership. Mr. Dhami hasn't had the traditional honeymoon period which is par for the course for most new governments, and the reputational damage to his government has worried the BJP's national leadership.

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