The Telegraph
Saturday , June 15 , 2013
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Modi to cripple cabinet meet

The ongoing BJP-JD(U) turmoil is going to hurt the next cabinet meeting, scheduled for Tuesday.

Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who also holds the post of state finance minister, has been skipping office since Thursday. His ministry has to clear the finance agenda of different departments, but as Modi is not visiting office and has refused to accept (clear) any more government files, it will be difficult to get clearance on them before the cabinet meeting.

Most BJP ministers have virtually been without work lately. The Telegraph visited the official chambers of some BJP ministers on Friday and found they had not attended office in the last two days.

A staff at deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi’s office said, on condition of anonymity: “Saheb nahi aa rahe hain office me kal se (Sir has not come to office since Thursday)”.

Modi has also refused to accept any government files. Evidently, his office table was clean, devoid of any files. His staff indicated that the biggest fallout of Modi not accepting any government files would be files that require his approval before it is put up at the cabinet meeting. “All government matter dealing with finance requires the finance minister’s consent,” the official said.

Road construction minister and state NDA convener Nand Kishore Yadav has not visited his office since 2 pm on Thursday. Files pertaining to his department and requiring his clearance were not put up on Friday.

Then there’s PHED minister Chandra Mohan Rai. Besides not attending office, Rai has adopted an aggressive stance, demanding that Nitish Kumar resign and seek a fresh mandate.

Another powerful BJP minister, Ashwini Kumar Choubey who handles health, is staying away from office since Wednesday evening. With their boss away, his staff spends time watching the news on television, anticipating whether or not the coalition will survive.

Choubey, who is in Uttarakhand with his family, is likely to return on June 18. A staff at the health department said: “We are not certain whether Choubey will remain our minister after he returns. Going by media reports, the coalition will end in the next 48 hours.” Due to Choubey’s absence, a file relating to an AIDS Society official’s visit to New Delhi could not be cleared on Friday.

BJP state president Mangal Pandey confirmed that BJP ministers are not showing any interest in going to office due to the current political turmoil.

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