HomeBureaucracyIt’s not only Rajasthan, West Bengal CS also got extension, albeit Punjab's...

It’s not only Rajasthan, West Bengal CS also got extension, albeit Punjab’s chief runs out of favour

By B S Reporter

Contrary to general belief, Modi government at centre fulfilled wishes of two non BJP chief ministers – chief minister Ashok Gehlot and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee – giving six months extension to their respective chief secretaries who were to retire on June 30. However, the centre declined the extension request from Punjab chief minister for his chief Vijay Kumar Januja who hung his boots on June 30.

While Usha Sharma, a 1985 batch IAS officer will now see the proceedings of assembly elections scheduled in November, Dwivedi three years junior to her will conduct panchayat elections to be held next week on July 8.

“Relationship of Prime Minister Modi is not bitter with Gehlot or Mamata Banerjee. While Gehlot has always shown warmth whenever he meets PM, Mamata has been sending mangoes and sweets to PM. On the other hand, AAP supremo and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has been at loggerheads with PM over the control in Delhi administration. This must have reflected while decision making on giving extension to chief secretary of Punjab, which is governed by AAP,” said a retired chief secretary who got extension during Modi's tenure.

What extension of Usha Sharma means to Gehlot

Chief secretary Usha Sharma is a close relative of assembly speaker C P Joshi and enjoys trust of chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who at times had visited Usha Sharma at her office, ignoring the usual protocol. Gehlot for last couple of months has been touring the state distributing ‘poll goodies' to public at dearness relief (mahangai rahat camps). The chief secretary has not activated the entire bureaucracy for the success and publicity of these rahat camps but has been monitoring personally on daily basis. Her deep involvement has resulted in extending benefits to larger number of people. With just a quarter left for the polls, Gehlot would not like to give away with an active CS. By the time the new CS would have got into grooves, elections would have been on the corners. Now that there is no change of guard, Gehlot can heave a sigh of relief.

Significance of Dwivedi for Didi

The 1988 batch IAS officer H K Dwivedi has throughout served in his cadre only. He had never been for and had been a close confidante of Didi all through her three tenures. He had handled all important departments like home, finance, planning, excise and commercial taxes before annexing the top post. The continuation of chief secretary would instil confidence in Didi's Trinamool Congress, which is bracing to show supremacy over BJP before the crucial Lok Sabha election scheduled next year.

In 2018 panchayat elections, Trinamool Congress had bagged 95 per cent of the Zila Parishad seats and emerged victorious in 90 per cent of Panchayat Samiti seats. The ruling party also secured 73 per cent of Gram Panchayat seats.

However in 2021 assembly polls, BJP had put up a brave fight bagging 77 seats with 38.1% vote share as against TMC's 47.9%.

“Mamata Banerjee doesn't take any chance in governance part before the Lok Sabha polls. She wants her best person to be at right place. So extension of Dwivedi will help her implement schemes and programmes at faster pace without breaking the continuity. This will certainly help Mamata to consolidate her position. She will try for another 6-month extension for Dwivedi who would then see through the parliamentary polls,” said Kanchan Sinha, a political analyst based in Kolakata.

The BuckStopper Reporter
The BuckStopper Reporterhttps://www.thebuckstopper.com
The BuckStopper, run by a group of seasoned journalists, holds the powerful accountable. The buck stops with them, as they cannot shrug off their official responsibilities.
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