To set the agenda for run-up to general elections
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting of the entire Council of Ministers on November 1. His object, official sources said, is to set the agenda for his new team for the less than two years that remains before the next general elections slated for mid-2014.
Official sources added that both Dr. Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram would address the gathering, a clear indication that the subject of reviving the “animal spirits” in the economy would top the government’s list of priorities.
The meeting comes in the wake of the many changes made in the Council of Ministers on Sunday: indeed, the Prime Minister said, shortly after the swearing-in ceremony, which saw 22 new Ministers taking oath, that he hoped that this would be the last reshuffle before the next general elections. He had also stressed that there were many challenges ahead.
Thursday’s meeting should set the ground, therefore, for more cohesion in government, a greater sense of purpose and, possibly, increased responsibilities for junior ministers. Indeed, this has been a perennial grouse of the Ministers of Sate — that they are not allocated enough work by their Cabinet Ministers.
On Thursday, after the Prime Minister and Finance Minister have spoken, the junior Ministers, who don’t attend weekly Cabinet meetings, will get an opportunity to have their say.