In August 2019, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani launched an initiative under which he started meeting — once a month — different sections of society to have an open discussion on the issues concerning them. The initiative, titled Mukhyamantri Sathe, Mokla Mane (With the Chief Minister, with an open mind), has not only caught the attention of the people but also proved to be a catalyst towards some key welfare decisions by the government.
In the months since, Rupani has held interactions with people from different strata of the society like urban slum dwellers, award-winning teachers, Divyang or specially-abled persons, and nomadic & denotified tribes etc.
Secretary to the CM, Ashwani Kumar said the interaction is like an open dialogue about knowing each other better. “If some decision is taken during and after this interaction, it is a by-product, but the objective is not that of people asking something and the CM giving something,” he clarified.
Additional PRO to the CM, Hitesh Pandya said: “The CM himself decides the group of people that he would interact with… We shortlist around 60-75 names for the final programme. The selection gets done in a manner that every district gets equal representation”.
Shantabhai Bamaniya from Kharaghoda of Surendranagar district is a salt pan worker and visited the CM house for the first time last year.
“I felt very happy after visiting the CM House. We spent one full day there, had a meal there and even got photographed with the CM,” said Bamaniya.
“More importantly, one of our problems got resolved after the visit. A hostel near our village was (by rule) not enrolling students beyond Class VIII. I raised the issue with the CM during the interaction as our kids had to leave school education because there was no hostel for students of Class IX onwards. The issue was resolved very soon. Now our kids can study beyond Class VIII,” Bamaniya added.
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