Ministers refuse to follow Raman Singh | india | Hindustan Times
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Ministers refuse to follow Raman Singh

india Updated: Aug 03, 2007 14:56 IST
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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh may have taken the decision to remove the red beacon from his official vehicle to send out a "good message", but none of his 12 cabinet ministers seem inclined to follow suit.

Instead of following the chief minister's example, his cabinet appears all set to wait until the government issues a formal order.

"Everybody was expecting his cabinet colleagues to shun the beacon immediately after the chief minister's decision to do so. But none of the 12 ministers is ready to give up the privilege. In fact, they all have virtually decided to continue with their beacons till a formal order is issued by the government," a senior minister told IANS.

The minister, who requested that his name be withheld, admitted that his colleagues were feeling the pressure from the chief minister's surprise decision on Wednesday evening after the cabinet meeting. But the pressure was not enough.

The issue had not figured at all in the cabinet meeting.

Raman Singh had said he would remove the beacon from his official vehicle declaring that it "did not give a good message to the masses". He described it as a "personal decision".

Accordingly, the chief minister, who has been facing dissent within his own Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for his style of functioning, has been moving around the state capital without the flashing red beacon.

The opposition Congress has dismissed the move as a stunt.

"It's just a stunt. He could have done so on day one when he was sworn in as chief minister on Dec 7, 2003. People know that the chief minister is indulging in farce because the election year is approaching," said Congress spokesperson and general secretary of the party's state unit Ramesh Varlyani.

Raman Singh's decision comes amid the ruling BJP holding a series of meetings for the last one month to firm up its strategy for the assembly polls due next year.

Seven discontented party legislators - in a group of about 20 - went to Delhi last month to meet party president Rajnath Singh to complain about the chief minister.