The Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution urging the Centre to amendment Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution so that the state can expand its cabinet size from existing 15 per cent to 20 per cent.
The main opposition BJP opposed the resolution and staged a walkout from the Assembly.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel tabled the resolution in the House, saying that 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.
During discussion, opposition members opposed the resolution, terming it as unlawful and unnecessary.
"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.
Earlier, BJP MLA and former Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ajay Chandrakar while countering the demand made through the resolution said the step has been taken just to appease Congress MLAs who were vying for ministerial berths.
After the discussion, BJP legislators staged a walkout from the assembly while opposing the resolution. However, the resolution was passed with voice vote.
The Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution provides that 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. As per the current provision, the strength of cabinet in Chhattisgarh cannot exceed 13 including the chief minister.
The Congress, which ended BJP's 15-year reign in the recent state election, has 68 members in the newly-elected 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly. The new state cabinet has 12 members including the CM.
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