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The Times of India
The Times of India
Prafulla Marpakwar | TNN

Under Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde, babus have more power than MLAs: Opposition

MUMBAI: Chief Minister Eknath Shinde is at the receiving end for granting quasi-judicial powers, held by cabinet members, to bureaucrats. Leader of opposition Ajit Pawar, Congress legislature party leader Balasaheb Thorat and Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe strongly criticized the chief minister, saying, his decision is anti-democratic.

“We are facing this situation, since Eknath Shinde failed to expand his cabinet more than a month after he was sworn-in as the chief minister. Instead of bureaucrats, I feel that all powers should be entrusted to the chief secretary. We are in a democratic set up, legislators have no powers neither there are cabinet members, under such circumstances, bureaucrats have become more powerful than elected representatives,’’ leader of opposition Ajit Pawar said.

“It is clear that the expansion will take place only after a signal from Delhi. Nothing is in their hands,” Pawar added. Shinde and Fadnavis are on a two-day Delhi tour. Talks on the cabinet expansion are likely during their visit to the national capital.

The general administration department led by chief secretary Manukumar Srivastava had on Friday promulgated a brief order to provide for granting of quasi-judicial powers to bureaucrats. According to reports, since there are no cabinet members, the powers have been entrusted to bureaucrats, so that the common man does not suffer. Routine appeals against the orders passed by the regional level officials can not be disposed by bureaucrats.

Congress legislature party leader Balasaheb Thorat felt that it was an undemocratic decision. “It was wrong decision of the chief minister, he must expand the cabinet immediately so that there will be no need to entrust the powers to bureaucrats. We will not be surprised if Shinde changes the name of Mantralaya to Sachivalaya – secretariat,’’ Thorat said.

Taking strong objection to the decision, Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said a progressive state like Maharashtra should not be run by the secretaries, it must be governed by elected representatives.

A statement issued by the CMO stated that no powers of the cabinet members have been given to the bureaucrats, they will deal only with quasi-judicial matters. We have given limited powers to bureaucrats in the wake of a public interest litigation pending before the High Court. In the past too, in certain cases, quasi-judicial powers were entrusted to bureaucrats,’’ the CMO said in a statement.

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