At long last the portfolios of the council of ministers of the state government were allocated after four days since the oath of office and secrecy was taken. Speculations were rift because the ruling alliance at present has the support of only 34 legislators, that any discontentment on the allocation of the portfolios would threaten the stability of the government. The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party(NDPP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP ) had seat sharing pre-poll alliance of 40-20. However the performance of the BJP was significantly better with 12 wins out of 20 candidates making it a 60% win. The NDPP on the other hand could garner only 18 MLAs out of the 40 seats that they contested with a performance of 45% win. This propelled the BJP to demand six berths in the cabinet of which one was the post of deputy chief minister. The leader of the NDPP and chief minister Neiphiu Rio had to concede to the demands. The ruling People’s Democratic Alliance also enjoys the majority in the House through the crucial support given by one MLA from the JD(U) and an Independent MLA. Consequently the NDPP was left with just 4 members in the council of ministers and also had to give away some plump portfolios. Likewise, it is expected that the two MLAs of National People’s Party(NPP) will also demand some big assignment later. With the announcement it is considered for now that finally there has been a consensus of all the parties concerned.
One of the most notable portfolios was of National Highways that went to the deputy chief minister Y Patton who is also the leader of the BJP legislator party. It is notable because he was allotted this portfolio along with home department. This probably echoes Modi’s statement of ‘transformation by transportation’ and the BJP surely might have wanted to keep this portfolio with them. The changed criteria under the ministry of road transport and highway brings all those roads connecting district headquarters under National Highways. A BJP minister to hold this portfolio at such a time when prime minister has given such a big state certainly will enable the Centre to closely monitor these projects in the state. The ruling BJP at the centre also should rein in all its legislators in the state so that the promised developmental agenda of Modi is not rendered just as pure rhetoric.
However, in spite of the various portfolio demands and the allocations thereby, the present alliance has to understand that it is walking on a razor’s edge. On one hand the assembly has one of the strongest opposition led by a former chief minister number 26 in a house of 60. Next comes the public who had to go through one of the most unstable tenures marred with one protest after another, some leading to violence and loss of lives. Unless all the members of the ruling alliance works together proactively for the common good, the trust deficit that has been generated in the minds of the people will only increase. It is time to start working.