Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Mayawati's bureaucrats refrained from speaking their minds; some piloted fast rise

Bee Smart: Bureaucrats to Speak Up
EARLY 2010, police in Uttar Pradesh had to undertake one of the most bizarre investigations ever. State chief minister Ms Mayawati was furious and wanted cops to find out how and why a swarm of bees hovered around her during a rally in Lucknow on March 15, 2010. The investigation report prepared by a DIG level officer said 1.5 lakh bees disturbed the chief minister during her birthday rally. That was not all. The report showered lavish praise for Mayawati’s “calm and composure” during the bee attack! It was the same controversial rally when a garland made out of Rs 1000 notes (with a value of around Rs 5 crore) was presented to Mayawati. When it came to her bureaucrats, Mayawati was a street smart. She valued those bureaucrats who she thought were critical to her administration and punished those who she believed were inefficient and not loyal to her. But that probably turned suicidal to her politically.
For example, Shashank Shekhar Singh, a former pilot held a unique post called cabinet secretary and enjoyed the rank of a cabinet minister. Singh has been Ms Mayawati’s favourite bureaucrat from day one of her coming back to power in 2007. According to a state order, cabinet secretary would enjoy the same power as chief secretary who is invariably an IAS officer. But in Lucknow corridors, you don’t need to muster rocket science to understand Singh’s clout vis-à-vis that of chief secretary. The issue of creating an all-powerful cabinet secretary’s post in the state undermining the established role of a chief secretary even cropped up to Supreme Court.
Mayawati also tried to change the political rule book of praising babus in public rallies, a highly unconventional practice. Two IAS officers, 1984 batch Durga Shanker Mishra and 1988 batch Navneet Sehgal, were showered praise at a public rally in Lucknow in mid-December last year. Mishra, a B Tech engineer and MBA before joining as IAS, was a joint secretary in home ministry during early days of UPA-I. Sehgal, both a chartered account and company secretary besides being an IAS, was praised for his attempts to make UP getting enough power by 2014.
But not all IAS officers were as lucky as Mishra and Sehgal. Senior IAS of 1976 batch Promilla Shanker, who was suspended and then reinstated, is a case in hand. She alleged Mayawati government of unleashing “a reign of terror and fear in the administration and officers who speak their mind” and wanted the Centre to “protect the morale” of all-India services officers.

1 comment:

  1. The "Bee Smart" photo reflects the mood of the bureaucrats. Well placed