New Delhi, Sept. 24: Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna is likely to be absent at the inaugural of an event in early October to mark the formation of the National Disaster Management Authority.
Sources said Bahuguna was being kept away as a new chief minister was likely to be anointed on October 6 after pitripaksha ends. The Congress could bring in either Harish Rawat or state Congress chief Yashpal Arya to replace him, the sources added.
The formation day programme is dedicated to those who died in the mid-June Uttarakhand floods and the rescue personnel who sacrificed their lives while doing their duty. Bahuguna has come under severe criticism for his handling of the disaster in which hundreds have died.
The event is being held on October 4 although the formation day of the NDMA is September 28. The programme was rescheduled to accommodate dignitaries. The Prime Minister, who is the chairperson of the NDMA, will attend the inaugural.
Last week, the PMO is understood to have objected to Bahuguna’s presence at the morning inaugural. However, NDMA vice-chairperson Shashidhar Reddy downplayed the move, saying it was the Prime Minister who did the honours at such events.
“The Uttarakhand chief minister will be present at the valedictory programme,” said Reddy. This event is scheduled in the afternoon the same day.
Sources said Bahuguna was given a “grace period” of a few more days in the hot seat as pitripaksha ends on October 5. Political parties generally do not take major decisions during this period as it is considered inauspicious according to the Hindu calendar.
At the programme, tribute will be paid to the personnel of the Indian Air Force, Indo-Tibetan Police Force and the National Disaster Response Force who died in a helicopter crash on June 25 during a rescue mission, the NDMA vice-chairperson said. Citations are likely to be given to their families.
Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is expected to attend the programme.