Shiv Sena ministers on Friday attended the first cabinet meeting of the state government after civic elections, and demanded that opposition leaders and journalists should be allowed to attend these meetings.
During the elections, BJP had targeted Sena, its alliance partner in Maharashtra government, over lack of “transparency” in the functioning of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
PWD Minister Eknath Shinde, Health Minister Deepak Sawant and Transport Minister Diwakar Raote were the three Sena leaders who attended the cabinet meeting at ‘Varsha’, the Chief Minister’s bungalow, here today.
Shinde told reporters that he raised the issue of transparency, demanding that journalists and opposition leaders should be allowed to attend the cabinet meetings, and the Chief Minister was positive about the demand.
Shiv Sena had made the same demand during the acrimonious campaign for civic polls. Education Minister and senior BJP leader Vinod Tawde said Fadnavis accepted the demand of more transparency.
However, as to allowing journalists and opposition leaders at cabinet meetings, secretary of Law and Judiciary department informed during today’s meeting that it was not possible, Tawde said.
Journalists and opposition leaders are not bound by oath of office and secrecy unlike ministers, the secretary said. “The CM said a committee would be set up to examine if any changes can be made in the present system,” Tawde said.
He denied that BJP had gone on back-foot by accepting Sena’s demand. “Shiv Sena too has accepted BJP’s stand on transparency (in the civic body),” he said.