The last thing a government plagued by tussles between the BJP and the Shiv Sena on the one hand and between ministers and bureaucrats on the other needs is for a conflict to erupt between two ministers from the same party. But that’s exactly what seems to be happening in the state.
Sudhir Mungantiwar and (right) Eknath Khadse
Excise Minister Eknath Khadse from the BJP has accused his Cabinet and party colleague Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar of stalling a proposal to appoint a consultant to advise his ministry on ways to increase the yearly collection of excise duty.
Khadse told mid-day yesterday that he had sent a proposal to Mungantiwar immediately after taking charge of the department (in November last) for appointing a consultant. Such proposals need the approval of the finance department because the consultant is paid professional charges.
“Sadly, the proposal is still pending. I wonder if this is the pace at which a gatimaan sarkar (expeditious government) is expected to function” said Khadse. Khadse justified the need for the consultant saying he wanted to increase the annual collection of state excise duty. “I do not want to spend the state’s money on useless things. The consultant will definitely help us,”he said.
‘Got no proposal’
Mungantiwar, on the other hand, told mid-day that no such proposal had come to him for approval. “And, if the proposal is pending in my department, Khadse Saheb, who is my senior in the party, could have called me and asked me to do the needful. I’m not against any of his proposals,” he said.
The finance minister added that Khadse’s proposal could have been held back by bureaucrats on technical grounds. “There is a strong possibility that they (the officers) may not have found the proposal technically perfect. Only the proposals that are studied and finalised by the bureaucrats come to me for final approval,” he said.