The changes in the state cabinet are not likely to affect the schedule of the Winter Legislative Session, which is on track for a December 1 start in Nagpur, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said.
The session was expected to begin later than scheduled because 22 ministers from the Congress and 10 more from the Nationalist Congress Party are yet to be sworn in. Chavan and his deputy Ajit Pawar and nine NCP ministers were administered the oath on Thursday.
Before going to New Delhi to get approval for his Congress cabinet, Chavan told the Hindustan Times that his government planned to have a three-week session in the state’s second capital from December 1.
There have been instances in the past when the Nagpur session was postponed because of political reasons.
“We won’t delay it. We’re prepared to take on the Opposition and also discuss public issues at the session,” Chavan said.
Sources close to Chavan said the three-week session would finish before December 18 because the Congress party’s two-day plenary session will start in New Delhi that day.
The opposition is ready with its arsenal. Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Vinod Tawde said the opposition was all prepared to put the government on the mat over the Adarsh society and other scams.
“We will not let the government go scot-free. We will force them to take stringent action.”
However, Chavan’s resolve has caught bureaucrats off guard. The officers, ranging from tehsil level to Mantralaya cadre, help prepare policies and replies to questions and debates in the session. They can’t afford to be lax because a minor goof-up could embarrass the government.
“Considering the time taken to form the Cabinet, we thought the session would get delayed,” said a senior IAS officer requesting anonymity. “We will have to be really fast now.”
In his first review meeting on Thursday, Chavan sought updates on raging issues. He asked bureaucrats to prepare thoroughly so that the ministers don’t face any problem on the floor of the house.