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Ministers want more powers in districts

?GIVE US more powers in the districts? was the demand from certain ministers at the dinner hosted by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for his Cabinet colleagues at Kerwa Guesthouse tonight. Some other ministers expressed concern over the conduct of a section of the party MLAs.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 12:50 IST
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“GIVE US more powers in the districts” was the demand from certain ministers at the dinner hosted by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for his Cabinet colleagues at Kerwa Guesthouse tonight. Some other ministers expressed concern over the conduct of a section of the party MLAs.

With the rebellion by several ministers and the MLAs against the then chief minister Babulal Gaur still haunting the party and the CM both, the idea behind the throwing the dinner was to offer an informal platform to ministers to express their views on lacunae in the system, if any, and also their views on governance since Chouhan took over.

The CM and the ministers headed separately to the guesthouse in the evening after the State Cabinet meeting. It was a calculated move on the CM’s part not to invite the officials for the informal meeting or the dinner so that the ministers could express their views freely about the bureaucracy and that there was no element of officialdom in the atmosphere.

However, a few select party office-bearers like the State BJP organising general secretary Kaptan Singh Solanki and the general secretary Anil Dave were invited to attend the dinner. As per information gathered from ministers, the CM asked them to speak on any subject and department they liked to speak on. He also sought suggestions from them for good governance.

He asked them to offer suggestions on problems they were going to highlight. Some ministers suggested to the CM strengthening of the district in-charge minister system for effective implementation of the development schemes. They sought powers for the ministers in-charge to transfer or suspend any government employee.

The ministers expressed concern over the party MLAs’ approach towards them. They said the MLAs should be made to understand the limitations of the ministers. The MLAs should also know how the system in the government worked. It was not possible to attend to each and every work they came for.

The ministers stressed the need of strengthening the public distribution system, regulating the power supply, ensuring the presence of doctors at the hospitals and teachers at the schools. The CM, however, on his part told the ministers to strengthen the coordination committees in the districts so that the party workers and MLAs’ suggestions and recommendations could be properly attended.

Dinner followed the meeting. There was separate arrangement for dinner for the ministers’ staff. Earlier in the evening, Public Relations Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the journalists at the time of his briefing on Cabinet decisions that the CM had arranged the get-together for sharing of views informally, as the official occasions hardly left any time for them for such things.

When asked why the venue was chosen far away at Kerwa Guesthouse, he replied in a lighter vein it was obvious that some talks could not be held here.

First Published: Jan 18, 2006 12:50 IST