But over the years, Rawat’s stewardship of the government has had its share of critics. Among them was disgruntled former CM and MP General B C Khanduri, and the independent-minded B S Koshyari, who even as Governor of Maharashtra, took a deep and keen interest in the politics
of Uttarakhand. Khanduri has been vocal in criticising some decisions of the state government, including the decision to permit a private distillery in Devprayag. Rawat, on the other hand, strongly supported it, saying the company which is setting up the plant would produce only export-quality liquor and that the unit is 40 km away from the confluence of the rivers.
“The unit will provide employment,” he said publicly. Equally publicly, Khanduri said the move to site a distillery in Devprayag was ‘suicidal’ for Uttarakhand and that the state was not suited for a distillery. BJP leader and MP Ajay Bhatt said the decision to produce liquor at Devprayag was “very wrong”.
Rawat may have had some inkling of things in store, for days ago, he distributed 17 key positions in different boards, councils and corporations, and let it be known an expansion of the Cabinet could not be ruled out. But because of the huge number of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), dissidents came to Delhi to complain that even MLAs who had won eight terms in the Assembly had not been made ministers.
Most state observers are asking themselves if Rawat will go quiet into the night if his man does not replace him.
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