The weekly Cabinet meeting took a dramatic turn on Thursday morning with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis having to rein in two senior ministers, Eknath Khadse and Prakash Mehta, who were passing remarks on bureaucrats.
Fadnavis reminded them that they were now in the government and not sitting in the Opposition, and should learn to follow decorum of the meeting.
“The CM made it clear that the meeting will not take place in an unruly fashion, and asked the ministers to behave properly while dealing with senior bureaucrats,” said a senior officer.
According to sources, Fadnavis lost his cool after Khadse snapped at energy principal secretary Ajoy Mehta, who was explaining about power supply to farmers. “Khadse interrupted Mehta saying he hadn’t done anything and demanded the policy to repair electricity transformers be amended. When Mehta said he had to follow the norms, Khadse started to say that the bureaucrat did not know anything, and he [the minister] knew what the situation was because he was a farmer’s son,” said the officer.
When things started to go out of hand, Fadnavis asked Khadse to behave himself.
The minister recently faced flak for saying that if farmers can pay their mobile bills, they can pay their electricity dues.
Mehta invited the CM’s ire when urban development principal secretary Manu Kumar Shrivastav took up the issue of making playgrounds available for public rallies.
In a raised voice, Mehta questioned the bureaucrat what he was doing to control the TDR (transfer of development right) cartel in the city. “Do you know there are many builders who are making huge amounts of money through TDR dealings,” he asked.
Fadnavis finally had to stop him from disturbing the proceedings.
Several bureaucrats are annoyed with the ministers. “We have been very cooperative. We are always there to follow their directives and help them make policies, but such conduct is beyond our comprehension. The ministers should respect others,” said a senior IAS officer.