'Election Commission, take note!' Opposition sees red over 'unhealthy' meeting between top Union ministers and Utter Pradesh cadre
- Yesterday’s meeting came months before crucial elections in the state
- Congress leader said government only had the polls in sight
- But Union ministers defended move as an important ‘unpolitical’ meeting
- See more news from India at www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome
18:54 EST, 19 October 2016
18:54 EST, 19 October 2016
The opposition was quick to accuse the BJP of attempting to influence bureaucracy before the polls – and called on the Election Commission of India (ECI) to take note.
Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi said: “The central government has only elections in sight. I have never heard of such a meeting before. It is unhealthy practice. The Election Commission of India should take note.”
Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his cabinet colleagues met 35 IAS officers from UP in Delhi
AIMIM Chief Asauddin Owaisi also tweeted following yesterday’s meeting: “Hope eci [ECI] will take note.”
Justifying the meeting, Union minister of state for health and family welfare Anupriya Patel said: “Uttar Pradesh is one of the biggest states. It is important that the Central government takes initiative like this. The opposition tries to see politics in everything. It need not been seen through the prism of politics alone.”
When asked as to why only UP cadre officers were chosen, Patel defended the government saying: “We will meet other cadres as well, but in the right time”.
Union ministers have been slammed for meeting with the UP cadre with polls in the state looming
Besides Patel, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, minister of state for agriculture Sanjeev Balyan, women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi, MoS food processing industries Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and MoS minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi were present at the interaction.
According to a source present at the meeting, Rajnath Singh reportedly gave a ‘pep talk’ addressing the officers.
Singh said: “Most valuable thing you have is your reputation. Don’t think if you go to place A from place B, people in place A won’t know what you did in place B.”
Union minister of state for health and family welfare Anupriya Patel defended the meeting, which was criticised by opponents including AIMIM Chief Asauddin Owaisi
Parrikar said an IAS officer being the steward of the administration in the district should always consider the interests of poor people.
He asked the officers to show sensitivity to the issues of the armed forces personnel and ex-servicemen.
However, the opposition leaders questioned the timing of the interaction as several young IAS officers would serve as the returning officers during the elections.
The meeting took place in North Block.
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