Overheard In Bhopal: The Blue-Eyed Boy, Offstage Deals & More

Overheard In Bhopal: The Blue-Eyed Boy, Offstage Deals & More

A senior bureaucrat has become a blue-eyed of a powerful politician holding an important position.

NITENDRA SHARMAUpdated: Monday, April 22, 2024, 12:20 AM IST
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Overheard In Bhopal: The Blue-Eyed Boy, Offstage Deals & More |

Blue-eyed boy

A senior bureaucrat has become a blue-eyed of a powerful politician holding an important position. Sahib’s advice is sought on many issues. Although the officer maintains a low profile, he is close to the higher-ups in the government. The politician recently silenced an officer who tried to make some comments against the senior bureaucrat. The politician says the senior bureaucrat did a lot of work for him during the rule of the previous regime. Just before the assembly election – although the BJP was in power – this bureaucrat had a hard time. He was in the loop line for a long period. Before the assembly polls, he was praying to God for Congress’s victory, so that he might return to the mainstream administration. The Congress may not have formed a government in the state, but the officer is enjoying a good time.  He has set up connections with some powerful people in Delhi. The politician already likes him. So, the officer hopes the person who has helped him get the important department where he is working now, will lend a hand to hit the bull’s-eye – the post of CS.

Importance of PS

A principal secretary (PS) of the state has suddenly become very important. He is on election duty in such a constituency that everyone is keeping their eye on. The PS is an election observer in Wayanad, Kerala. As the officer is in Wayanad, he is in close contact with the most important leader of the Congress. As a result, other senior leaders of the party are also in touch with him. Apart from that, many senior Congressmen are getting in touch with the observer, so that there may not be any irregularity in the polls in that constituency. As the people across the country are keeping an eye on this Lok Sabha seat, the leaders of the ruling party are also in touch with the observer. A few leaders of the Congress and those of the BJP in Kerala are taking feedback on the PS from different people close to power in Madhya Pradesh.  The officer is also working in this high-profile constituency with caution, so that there may not be any scope for error.  Because of being on duty in this high-profile constituency, the PS has come in contact with the senior politicians of the ruling party as well of the opposition.

To be or not to be

The officers generally complete the extended period of post-retirement tenure in office. It rarely happens otherwise. Everyone is, however, apprehensive that a decision on the future of a Madam may be taken after the general election. There are two types of chinwags about Madam – first, she may get another extension of her tenure in office; and second, she may be removed from the office after the election even before she completes the extended period of her tenure given to her a few months ago. There are reports that the top brass in Delhi is receiving different opinions about bureaucrats from the state. On the grounds of this feedback, the top bosses in Delhi may take some decisions on the state bureaucracy after the election. An officer posted to the Centre on deputation may be sent back to the state. If the big bosses take a decision on sending this officer back to Madhya Pradesh, the state bureaucracy is set to see many changes. But the Centre will do everything in consultation with the state government.

Ye Dil Mange More…!

The Model Code of Conduct is in force because of the Lok Sabha election. At this juncture, when some officers are busy handling the poll-related assignments and a few others without election duty are enjoying their life, a bureaucrat is busy making backstage deals. This Sahib is working on some projects about which he is holding talks with some companies, keeping his own interests in mind. Apart from that, the officer is also sifting through the bills concerning some old projects. For this work, he has deployed two officers of his department, who are handling the deals on his behalf. Both these officers are sending messages to the employees, pointing out their faults and bulldozing them to part with some cabbage. There are reports that these two officers are hustling the employees in the name of their boss. The way the boss is protecting these two officers indicates that his support is there behind everything happening in the department. The employees murmur about how the officer is ripping off the department.

Offstage deals

A department is in turmoil. About the minister of this department, it is said that he lives only to make dough through underhand deals, but a few officers have got into the way of his making offstage transactions. It, however, does not mean that the officials are upright. On the contrary, the officers have dipped their hands into gravy, so much that they are sparing little amount of brass for the minister. An aide of the minister entered into a deal with a few suppliers. The minister, too, issued some instructions to the officials about these contracts, but they lobbied for the assignment on their own. Instead of giving the work to the minister’s man, an officer has handed the job to one of his acquaintances. An additional chief secretary posted in the department is unable to rein the officers. The situation has come to such a pass that everyone is taking sweetener for whatever they are doing. The minister has reportedly told his aides to wait till the Lok Sabha election, and once it is over, he will set everything right. There are chances that the minister, known for openly scolding the officers, may raise a storm after the election.

Good days 

A principal secretary (PS) may see good days after the election. Angry with the officer, the government sent him to the loop line. During the rule of the previous regime, the PS was posted in two important departments. After the formation of the new government, he was removed from one. Because the higher-ups in the government were still angry with the officer, they removed him from another department and sent him to an insignificant position. A few officers close to PS gave good feedback to the Chief Minister about him. The head of the state agreed to post him to an important department after the Lok Sabha election. But it is barely necessary that this agreement exist till the Model Code of Conduct is lifted. There are some hurdles in the way of this officer to get an important position. Though the previous government gave him some key departments, there was a problem with him, and that is -- his honesty. Because he is upright, he does not lobby for his posting, which has become a thorn in his way to get a key position.

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