Mukul’s refusal to entertain austerity measures evokes mixed reactions

SHILLONG: Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma’s refusal to do away with the ministerial privileges and facilities availed by him and other Government officials of the State has evoked varied reactions.
Former Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly and NPP leader Conrad Sangma admitted that certain amenities and facilities are required for ministers and VIPs which will help them in performing better.
Asserting that security is important, Sangma, however, lamented that sometimes it is overdone in the State as well as elsewhere in the country.
BJP State general secretary Dipayan Chakraborty, while reacting on the issue, pointed out that newly-elected Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is also cutting off her security and she is not even using her official bungalow.
He admitted that Government officials do have to follow security protocols but they have to think for the State as well.
“If they can cut down on their expenditure, it will be good for the State only,” he reasoned.
Constantine Thma, spokesperson of the NCP which is supporting the Congress-led MUA-II alliance, however, had a different take on the issue saying that use of red beacons and official bungalows depend on the situation prevailing in different states.
“Whatever Arvind Kejriwal does, it does not mean that everybody will start doing the same thing, even though it is a good way of winning people’s heart. The situation is different in Meghalaya,” he argued, while adding that Government officials and ministers have to slog for hours and even they need some rest.
“If security is removed and something happens tomorrow everybody will start blaming the police,” he added.
It may be mentioned that the Chief Minister had on Tuesday rejected the idea of following on the footsteps of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to shun the use of red beacon lights and giving up his official bungalow, while arguing that he does not believe in populist strategies of politicians.

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