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Cong bid to stall Rupani’s move to induct parl secys

Statesman News Service | Ahmedabad |

A month after Vijay Rupani government took over the reigns of Gujarat, the Congress has sought to stall its efforts to expand the ministry through the backdoor by inducting Parliamentary
secretaries.

Since a Supreme Court verdict prohibits the strength of any ministry to exceed 15 per cent of the total number of legislators in the House, the ruling parties in recent years have been circumventing the rule by appointing Parliamentary secretaries who get the same salaries and allowances as ministers.

In a letter to Governor O P Kohli, Congress spokesman Shaktisinh Gohil has asked him not to allow chief minister Vijay Rupani to go for “this undemocratic and unconstitutional” extension of his ministry.

Mr Gohil has said that the chief minister is likely to appoint Parliamentary secretaries in order to douse the flames of dissent in the ruling BJP, where many legislators are unhappy about being left out of the ministry, whose present strength is within the 15 per cent limit.

Appointing some Parliamentary secretaries would be well within the law regarding maximum strength of the ministry, but the incumbents would get salaries and perks at par with ministers.

Mr Gohil, a senior lawyer, cited the Supreme Court ruling which said that the concept of Parliamentary secretary was unconstitutional and the state governments have no power to amend the law on this. The practice of having jumbo ministries had been discontinued after both Houses of Parliament passed a Bill restricting the size of the ministry.