‘We appointed him minority panel chief, Cong let him continue’

Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said although Sukhdev Singh Namdhari was appointed chairman of the Uttarakhand Minorities Commission during his tenure, there is a common process for making such appointments.

"Sarkar kisi ki nahin hoti (A government does not belong to an individual). There is a common process for making such appointments. He was appointed on the recommendations of the party," Pokhriyal said over the phone. He said Namdhari was state president of Sikh Sangat, which is a sister organisation of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

He said Congress party has ruled the state for over six months. "Why did the Congress allow him to continue (as chief of the minorities commission) after formation of its government?" he asked.

Namdhari was appointed as chairman of the state minorities commission in March 2010. Sources in the government said his tenure was to end in March 2013. After reports of him being present during the shootout in which Ponty Chadha and brother Hardeep were killed, the Congress removed Namdhari from the post.

Namdhari was later arrested by the Delhi Police, prompting the BJP to expel him from the party. "There are several groups within the BJP's Udham Singh Nagar unit. Namdhari has rivals within the BJP," a source in the BJP said.

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