DAINIK NATION BUREAU
With nine MLAs being inducted in the Trivendra Singh Rawat ministry, seven are those who have made it to the Assembly several times. Two fresh faces in the Assembly are Satpal Maharaj and Dhan Singh Rawat.
Maharaj had a stint as a minister of state for Railways. Besides, he is supposed to have played an instrumental role in approving the survey of the high- profile Rishikesh – Karnprayayag railway project. He was the Member of the Lok Sabha elected from Garhwal constituency from 2009 to 2014. Previously in Congress, he deserted the grand old party and switched to BJP when electioneering for general election-2014 peaked. Dr Dhan Singh Rawat is supposed to have seen his way in the ministry as a minister of state thanks to his long- time association with RSS, the ideological fount of BJP.
Among the leaders who have played several innings in the Assembly is Prakash Pant. He was the Speaker of Uttarakhand Assembly during the time the interim government ran the state from 2000 to 2002. He became a cabinet minister in charge of parliamentary affairs after the election 2007 and remained so for the next five years till the 2012 election. However, he tasted defeat in the 2012 election as he lost to the Congress candidate Mayukh Mahar. He got electoral drubbing again when he contested the by-poll from Sitarganj against the then chief minister Vijay Bahuguna in 2012.
Madan Kaushik is another senior leader, representing Uttarakhand Assembly since 2002. He has served the state as cabinet minister from 2007 to 2012. He had acted as the de-facto leader of the opposition for five years from 2012, giving a tough time to the Harish Rawat government on the floor of the House when the official leader of the opposition was absent.
Harak Singh Rawat is known as a mercurial leader whose presence enlivens the session. Many say the role he played as the leader of the opposition during the period of 2007-12 when BJP was running the government is unparalleled. He served as cabinet ministers twice in Uttarakhand between 2002-2007 and 2012-2016. Later, he along with eight other MLAs left the Congress at the risk of losing his membership of the House.
Yashpal Arya is another senior leader who quit the Harish Rawat government a few days before the 2017 election, joined BJP and fought the election on the saffron ticket. Besides, he is a prominent Scheduled Caste face of the state’s politics.
Gadarpur MLA Arvind Pandey, a fourth time MLA, hailing from Udham Singh Nagar district, has been representing the Uttarakhand Assembly since 2002.
Subodh Uniyal, considered as a close confidante of the former CM Vijay Bahugun, left Congress along with eight others after then CM Harish Rawat cold-shouldered the demand for his induction in the cabinet. A third time MLA, it is his first stint as a cabinet minister of the state.
Rekha Arya, a second -time MLA, crossed over to BJP from Congress during the Supreme Court-ordered floor test in May 2016, giving a jolt to the embattled Harish Rawat government and raising the number of rebel Congress MLAs to ten. She has been inducted as a minister of state.