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Maharashtra to get shadow cabinet
Vijay Singh in Mumbai
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January 20, 2005 17:51 IST

The opposition in Maharashtra has decided to form a shadow cabinet to keep the Vilasrao Deshmukh government on its toes.

In the United Kingdom and Canada [Images], shadow cabinets keep a tab on the governments.

It is the first time in India that an opposition at the Centre or state level has come up with such an idea.

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The Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party are right now in the process of allocating ministries to their legislators.

"Our shadow ministers will study the functioning of ministries," says Shiv Sena Member of Legislative Council Madhukar Sarpotdar.

The Maharashtra assembly polls '04

"Whenever they find any misconduct on the part of the minister, they will alert our party leadership, which in turn will go to the public."

The shadow cabinet will have 43 members. The Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, Narayan Rane, will head it.

Former deputy chief minister Gopinath Munde will be the deputy leader. The two will not hold any portfolio.

So far they have decided to concentrate on the government's functioning, so that they will have enough issues to discuss during the next assembly session.

BJP leader Vinod Tawde says, "Our MLAs will study the work of allotted ministries, which will help us replace the Deshmukh government in the 2009 election."

Ask him why only one MLA will handle a particular ministry, he says, "[We don't want them to be] jack of all and master of none. So we decided to allot particular ministry to particular MLA."

Sarpotdar says, "Ministers in the Deshmukh government are very inexperienced and new. They don't have knowledge of their ministry. With the help of shadow cabinet we will check their misdoings, which will be good for the state's development."

According to him the minister are misusing their powers.

Excise Minister Ganesh Naik says, "We are welcoming anyone who can show us our weaknesses. It is not correct to say that we are inexperienced. You can form your opinions after our terms get over."

In the UK and Canada, members of shadow cabinets often get the same posts when their parties come to power.

It is not necessary to give a ministry to every shadow cabinet member. And allotting ministries can depend on the candidate's performance and other related issues," Sarpotdar says.


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