ITANAGAR, May 27: Just a year before the assembly elections, Chief Minister Pema Khandu has effected a major reshuffle of his cabinet.
Home Minister Kumar Waii has been stripped of the RWD portfolio and given charge of urban development (UD) department. Nabam Rebia has been assigned the portfolios of environment & forests, land management, social justice, empowerment & tribal affairs, and women & child development. He has been relieved of the charge of UD and town planning.
Bamang Felix is the new RWD minister, whereas Wangki Lowang has been assigned the PHE&WS department. Alo Libang has been given the important portfolio of health, along with that of RD and panchayati raj. Animal Husbandry Minister Dr Mohesh Chai has been handed additional charge of horticulture, agriculture, fisheries, and sports.
While the state government termed it a routine exercise, the cabinet reshuffle has set political talks buzzing in the state. Reportedly, not many MLAs and ministers are happy with the decision to go for a major change, considering the fact that the elections are just year away.
“Cabinet reshuffle at this juncture sends the wrong signal. Some ministers have been stripped of important portfolios and others have seen drastic rise in their rank. This might lead to internal bickering, which in turn will affect the party’s prospects in the 2019 election,” said an aide of a BJP MLA.
Also, the decision to strip the power of parliamentary secretaries like CT Mein (environment & forests) and Gojen Gadi (social justice, empowerment & tribal affairs) came as a huge shock to their supporters.
“Both are very senior leaders and deserve to hold independent charge as parliamentary secretaries. The decision of the CM to replace them is surprising,” said a supporter.