Urging the Centre to amendment Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution, the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution, so that the state can expand its cabinet size from existing 15 per cent to 20 per cent. The main opposition BJP, however, opposed the resolution and termed it as unlawful and unnecessary. They also staged a walkout from the Assembly.
An appropriate initiative is required to be taken towards amendment of Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution to increase the strength of cabinet ministers from 15 per cent to 20 per cent in Chhattisgarh in view of its bigger geographical area and in the interest of its rapid development, said Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel as he tabled the resolution in the House.
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"The area of Chhattisgarh is bigger than states like Tamil Nadu and Bihar. Each minister in the state cabinet had to handle more than one portfolio as there are several departments. Even chief minister had to keep several departments," he said.
“Keeping in view the population and the geographical area a bigger number of ministers are required for the smooth functioning of the administration and rapid development. It is incorrect to say that the resolution has been brought for appeasement,” he said.
BJP MLA and former Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ajay Chandrakar, earlier while countering the demand made through the resolution had said the step has been taken just to appease Congress MLAs who were vying for ministerial berths.
The resolution was passed with voice vote, even as the BJP legislators staged a walkout from the assembly opposing it.
According to the Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution, the strength of council of ministers headed by the CM cannot exceed 15 per cent of the total number of members of the legislative assembly of that state.
The strength of the cabinet in Chhattisgarh cannot exceed 13 including the chief minister, as per the current provision.
The new state cabinet has 12 members including the chief minister.