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   I have just come to know that the reason... (November 20, 1990)

I have just come to know that the reason why the prime minister has not annouced his cabinet yet is that it has been found that two members (himself and Mr. Devi Lal) are enough to run the government.

A government spokesman was telling me: "It is the newspapers that are talking of cabinet formation and swearing-in. there is no need for expansion of the cabinet, the prime minister and the deputy prime minister are enough."

"But this has never happened before: just a two-member cabinet!" I said.

The spokesman said: "You must have noticed that the government is runningas smoothly as when they have had 20 member in the cabinet, or a three-tier ministry with 50 ministers, deputy ministers, ministers os state. So why waste the taxpayers' money."

"True," I said. "But there are so many ministries to look after: steel and mines, human resources, irrigation and power supplu, information and broadcasting, Mr. Chandra Shekhar and Mr. Devi Lal can't be everywhere."

The spokesman said: "If I may point out, so far the have looked after everything and no ministry has suffered. Compare this with the last government, when they had so many ministers and yet not a single file was signed and passed for the final two months."

"There is that," I said. "But it does mean hard work for the two."

"As you are very well aware, the prime minister has never shirked hard work, and as for the deputy prime minister, the more work there is, the more it will keep him occupied," the spokesman said.

"Right," I said. "But what about all those MPs and ex-ministers who have been loyal to Mr. Chandra Shekhar and changed sides with him. Would they not be disappointed if they are not made ministers now? I mean, saving the taxpayers' money is fine, but not at the expense of those who were expecting to be ministers."

"They will have to understand the new philosophy of the two member government and fall in line with it," the spokesman said. "The prime minister will not create ministers when he does not need them."

"What about Mr. Devi Lal?" I asked. "Does he agree with the prime minister that there should be only two ministers?"

The spokesman said: "Mr Devi Lal would like to go one step further, he thinks there should be only one minister in the cabinet. He wants Mr. Chandra Shekhar to retire."

 
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