States

MVA cautious over picking staff, avoids those with BJP ministers

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray greets Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar after taking oath during the swearing-in ceremony in Mumbai.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray greets Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar after taking oath during the swearing-in ceremony in Mumbai.  

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None of Cabinet Ministers, including Chief Minister, have set up full-fledged office

The delay in appointments of staff in the offices of ministers in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government is mainly due to the extensive background search before sanctioning the names. Another reason contributing to the delay is the instructions from top party bosses to avoid the officials who had worked with the earlier government in important positions, especially with the ministers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Out of the 33 Cabinet Ministers, including Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, none of them have set up full-fledged office. The final appointments of staff, including personal secretary and officers on special duty (OSD), are still pending for all the ministers.

As per rules, each minister, except for the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, is sanctioned to have a staff of one personal secretary, three personal assistants (which can be converted to OSDs), two stenos, two clerks, one driver, and a peon.

At a meeting of party ministers at Y.B. Chavan Centre, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar sounded a word of caution to his colleagues while choosing the staff. “He told us to ensure a full background check. Though he didn’t particularly tell us to avoid the officials who had worked with the BJP ministers, the issue was discussed. No one will tell us to not take a particular officer in our staff, but the discussion of the issue is an indication for us to decide how to go forward,” a NCP minister said.

During the meetings to finalise the common minimum programme (CMP) of the three parties, the issue of appointments of minister’s staff was discussed in detail. “We had decided to avoid, if possible, to take those who had worked with the BJP ministers,” the NCP minister said.

According to sources, a Congress minister and two Shiv Sena ministers have already appointed an officer each from the BJP ministers’ team and the NCP has raised the objection of not adhering to the CMP.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 8:22:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/mva-cautious-over-picking-staff-avoids-those-with-bjp-ministers/article30553352.ece

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