Mumbai: With three months left for the Vidhan Sabha polls, the induction of Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Jaydutt Kshirsagar into the state Cabinet has raised serious questions about political morality. Both ministers are not members of any house of State Legislature at present. While officials argued that such a practice was completely within the limits of the constitution, the Opposition has demanded a code of conduct for such scenarios in the future.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar objected to Mr Vikhe-Patil's entry into the Cabinet and said, “If any person resigns from his party, he cannot be appointed minister by the other party without getting him elected to the Assembly or Council. The concerned person cannot take oath without being a member of any House.”
Other Opposition members too backed Mr Pawar in criticising the decision to induct Mr Vikhe-Patil.
However, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis came to Mr Vikhe-Patil's rescue. He clarified that there is no rule in the Constitution, which bars a non-member from becoming a minister. "Any eligible person can become a minister without being member of any House," Mr Fadnavis said.
According to the Constitution, any person, after being administered the oath of office, should become a member of any of the two Houses within six months.
Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan termed the incident 'political corruption.' “There is a need to change the law to prevent such practices. A code of conduct should be made so that no one can lure leaders of other parties,” he said.