BHOPAL: Less than one week after the massive drubbing in the general elections, the Madhya Pradesh unit of the Congress has formed a ‘shadow cabinet’ to keep a tab on the working of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP Government.
This shadow cabinet, which the party claims is a first-of-its-kind endeavour in the entire country, will comprise all the 53 Congress members of the legislative Assembly who were elected in the last year’s Assembly election.
Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Satyadev Katare, who decided to set up the shadow cabinet, said that the objective behind the move was to keep the ministers and the bureaucrats in check.
“Most of our MLAs are new and have been elected for the first time to the Assembly and are still learning the workings of the government and the Assembly. We decided to allot every MLA a specific government department on which he will keep an eye on. This way we will have one dedicated MLA for a particular department due to which, we as an opposition, will be able to point out any shortfall in the working of the department and concerned BJP minister,” Katare said.
According to party spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi, this was for the first time that any opposition party had come up with its own shadow cabinet in the country.
“Earlier such efforts were tried in Goa, Maharashtra, Delhi and Punjab but they never saw the light of the day. We have successfully been able to plan and execute this. And this will not remain just a paper tiger.
A lot of effort has been put in deciding which MLA should be looking after which department.
Even the common men can get in touch with the particular Congress MLA if he is facing any problem in the department that is allocated to the Congress MLA,” Chaturvedi told Express. To drive home the seriousness behind his intent, Katare has also issued a 10-point direction to every MLA detailing the homework that they have to do before the next Assembly session starts in June.
“I have asked every MLA to use the state assembly library and read the corresponding CAG reports related to the department that they are heading in the shadow cabinet , the budget allocated in the last three years, cases of corruptions that are pending against officials working in the department etc.
This way we will be able to keep the ministers and the officers on their toes,” he said. The shadow cabinet is a feature of the Westminster system of government and as per the system, it is the shadow cabinet’s responsibility to criticise the policies and actions of the government and offer an alternative program.