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Bhupesh Baghel wants Constitutional amendment for bigger state cabinet

Raipur | Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to carry out a Constitutional amendment so that the state can have a bigger council of ministers.

In a letter sent to the prime minister Friday, Baghel said the Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution should be amended in Chhattisgarh’s case. The article limits the number of ministers to 15 per cent of the strength of the state’s legislative assembly.

A press release quoted Baghel as saying in the letter that in view of the area and population of Chhattisgarh, this limit should be raised to 20 per cent for the state. Under the current provision, Chhattisgarh cabinet can have a maximum of 13 members including the chief minister.

The state is spread over 1.35 lakh sq km, or 4.4 per cent of India’s area, and is bigger than Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Telangana and West Bengal, the release said. Around 32 per cent of the state’s population is tribal, 12 per cent people belong to Scheduled Castes category while around 45 per cent fall in Other Backward Class (OBC), it said.

In view of these circumstances, a bigger cabinet is needed for a smooth functioning of the administration, it added. The Congress, which ended BJP’s 15-year reign in the last month’s election, has 68 members in the newly-elected 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly. The new state cabinet has 12 members including the chief minister.

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