Telangana govt draws fire from Oppn over delay in full cabinet formation
Hyderabad, Feb 4: The TRS government in Telangana came under attack from the opposition parties on Monday over "delay" in formation of a full-fledged cabinet, with the Congress and the BJP alleging violation of constitutional norms.
However, the ruling party dismissed the criticism, saying an exercise was on to streamline the administration and that the two-member cabinet would be expanded very soon. K Chandrashekar Rao, popularly known as KCR, was sworn-in as chief minister on December 13 after his Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) returned to power with a thumping majority in the assembly elections. Along with him, Mohammad Mahmood Ali also took oath and was given the Home portfolio.
The Congress and the BJP alleged that even after more than seven weeks of the government taking charge, the absence of a full-fledged cabinet is a violation of Articles 163 and 164 of the Constitution, which deal with the council of ministers in states. Taking aim at the government, AICC spokesperson Sravan Dasoju said there was a "dictatorial rule" in Telangana.
"The governor, who is supposed to be the custodian of the Constitution... he is playing a dubious role and the role of a puppet by not questioning the government...," he alleged. Dasoju sought to know why the constitutional obligation of having a minimum of 12 ministers was not being fulfilled.
"There is no government and no respect for the Constitution in Telangana and it's a chaotic situation...(it is) unfortunate," he said. Chief spokesperson of the BJP's Telangana unit, Krishna Saagar Rao, said his party wondered if the state had a governor at all.
"If he (governor) is present, then why is he not playing his role as the custodian of the Constitution? The BJP asks why the governor is a mute spectator of CM KCR's subversion of the Constitution. KCR has not constituted his cabinet and the council of ministers even after 50 days of taking office," the BJP leader said.
"CM KCR hasn't just insulted the letter and spirit of democracy but also brazenly mocked it by practising family-fiefdom governance. He must have mistaken the recent mandate for assuming monarchy in Telangana instead of an elected and accountable government," he added.
The BJP demanded that Governor E S L Narsimhan summons the chief minister immediately and ensures that the cabinet is constituted right away.
"We also demand that chief minister KCR should explain the reason for this inordinate and extraordinary delay in constitution of the state cabinet and the council of ministers," he said.
TRS spokesperson Abid Rasool Khan rejected the Opposition's charges and said the government had appointed a committee of senior IAS officers to streamline the entire administration.
There are about 60 departments in the government and the state can have a maximum of 17 ministers as per the constitutional cap of 15 percent of the assembly strength, he said. The Telangana Assembly has 119 members.
"We want to streamline (the cabinet) in such a way that all connected departments come under one minister, so that there is no overlap. This exercise is definitely taking time," Khan told PTI.
The exercise, he said, was nearing completion and a full-fledged Cabinet would be in place "very shortly". Khan said the chief minister was taking extra care to monitor all the departments and been holding reviews on a daily basis so that administration does not suffer.