After Ajit Pawar's backlash: Cabinet meets thrice in 24 hours, ministers work in overdrive

Impending elections and NCP's aggressive posturing over slow decision-making sparked off marathon meets on Wednesday, with ministers working nine hours to forward proposals

For the first time in recent years, files in Mantralaya have been shuffled as swiftly from table to table and chamber to chamber, say officials who witnessed the hectic activity since 11 am on Wednesday till 10 am on Thursday. Within a span of 24 hours, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, his deputy Ajit Pawar and their colleagues from the state government sat together for over nine hours.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar

Coming close on the heels of Wednesday’s face-off in which NCP’s Ajit Pawar took on the Congress chief minister for pendancy of files and slow decision-making, Thursday’s meet saw 10 subjects lined up for approval. As reported by this newspaper, ministers and their deputies sat with their departmental secretaries, submitting lists of pending proposals along with the related files.

The exercise went on till 10 pm, and saw four subjects lined up for the cabinet meet scheduled on Thursday. But the activities were so hectic, said sources, that each department swung into action to submit proposals, and the agenda items reached to 10 when the cabinet meeting began at 10 am.

“The initial agenda had four subjects. Later, one subject was added, followed by three, and lastly two more,” sources in the know told this newspaper. Furthermore, a momentous round of cabinet meetings will take place on January 15, when over a dozen proposals, concerning the energy, industry, public works and road development (MSRDC) sectors, are expected to come up for discussion.

Homeopathic doctors get cabinet nod to sell pharma drugs
During the meeting yesterday, the NCP got the cabinet’s nod for a crucial proposal concerning the medical education department, allowing for homeopathic doctors to prescribe allopathic medicines a demand pending since 1999. “It is going to benefit around 60,000 homeopathic graduates,” says Dr Vijaykumar Gavit, minister for medical education.

Sources revealed that three-four Congress ministers raised several objections to the proposal, saying it would set a bad precedent for graduates from other medical streams, who would want to make similar demands. An hour-long debate ensued, in which Dr Gavit was seen arguing with Congress ministers.

Even after the cabinet assented to the decision, the press release was not issued till late evening. Despite repeated reminders by the public relations department in the chief minister’s office, officials from the medical education department did not forward the draft of the press release. This fuelled speculations that the Congress prevailed upon the department to keep the decision veiled from public glare.

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