Perform or perish— that’s what the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) told the ministers a day after the swearing-in.
Now in total control, Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has told his party ministers that he would not clear any proposal if they brought it to him personally.
He asked the ministers to prepare proposals in consultation with bureaucrats and allow him to study them in advance before they are tabled in the weekly Cabinet meetings.
“Please do not bring personally any file (proposal) to me for my clearance. I will not sign it blindly,” he said at a meeting of ministers at his official residence Varsha on Sunday.
“This will apply to the NCP ministers as well.”
Using his powers, CM can veto any decision or send the proposal back to the respective department.
In political circles, the move is seen as an effective tool to tone down anti-incumbency. Both parties are well aware that though they scrapped through comfortably despite being in power for the past 10 years, the next five years would not be as easy to govern.
The Chavan-led 38-member council of ministers was sworn in Saturday and it started the combine’s third consecutive rule in the state from Sunday.
Refusing to reveal the details, Chavan told Hindustan Times: “I want every Congress minister to perform well and I want everyone to know my intention.”
The CM’s hard-talk was a stunner for the Congressmen. But the NCP expected it because Chavan, in his last term, had stalled three redevelopment proposals by Deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal.
He had insisted on clearing them only after studying them in detail.
“We know he’s a disciplined administrator and believes in corporate style functioning. But this kind of blunt announcement was unexpected,” said a senior Congress minister, requesting anonymity.
In a parallel meeting at state guest house Sahyadri, NCP boss Sharad Pawar warned his
ministers against non performance.
“Henceforth, I will personally monitor your performance and if you can’t perform, you may be free to quit the Cabinet,” he told the ministers.
“You have already seen that I don’t spare non-performers,” he said, making it obvious that why he did not retain several seniors in the new Cabinet.
Pawar was unavailable for comment. A senior NCPminister confirmed Pawar’s directives.