Politics in the state is getting wordy these days. After opposition parties BJP and MNS engaged in a verbal duel, the NCP is simmering with discontent over not having been spoken about as much as ally Congress in Governor K Shankaranayanan’s address on the first day of the state legislature in the new fiscal.
The Nationalist Congress Party, a partner in the Congress-led Democratic Front coalition government in the state since 1999, strongly feels that calculated attempts were made to slash its stature by big brother Congress via the speech. On Tuesday, the party came to the conclusion that its ally tried to stymie it by neglecting its achievements and agendas from the governor’s customary address delivered before the joint sitting of the legislature on Monday.
According to senior NCP leaders, a majority of policy issues listed in the governor’s address which is drafted by the government and considered as a statement on its commitment to people were focused lopsidedly on Congress-led departments.
Terms of reference
Even though the coalition partners share power equally, the governor spoke on 63 points that had to do with 25 Congress-led departments. The NCP was left to contend with just 23 points referencing the 13 departments under its control. Congress-led agriculture department saw seven points mentioned in the address, followed by five each from the women and child development, the forest and the industries departments. Departments of revenue and public health, headed by Congress ministers, got four points each.
For the NCP, the highest number of points was four, scored by the home department, followed by three from rural development department. Five departments headed by the party ministers saw two references each, while six others got one point each in the speech.
The practice for years has been that each government department is asked to convey its credible achievements and plans for inclusion in the governor’s address. The NCP’s attempt to dissect the governor’s address on political lines goes deeper. The party carefully measured the space it got in the brochure printed with the gubernatorial address, which was later distributed among legislators and media persons. Party sources said a mere 81 cms spoke of NCP’s departments, as opposed to the 256 cms print space hogged by the Congress.
‘No use crying’
A senior Congress minister quipped there was no basis for the NCP to complain since the process of drafting the governor’s speech was duly handled by a committee of secretaries, and routed through a committee of cabinet ministers, before being introduced in the state cabinet for its approval.
He added, “The process of approval in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday took 2.5 hours, where each and every point was discussed. There is no point in complaining now. The Congress-led departments have many achievements to share, which were included in the governor’s address.”