Monday, February 09, 2015

Exit polls say Paanch Saal Kejriwal; what will this ex-IRS’s return as Delhi CM mean for IAS, IPS, IRS…?

IF EXIT POLL trends on Delhi elections come true, former Indian Revenue Service officer Arvind Kejriwal will be the next chief minister of Delhi. For this babu-turned Aam Aadmi, this will be his second homecoming as Delhi CM, as he had already headed the Delhi government for 49 days last year before resigning from the post understandably to plunge into Parliamentary elections. The question now arises how bureaucrats including IAS, IPS and his own former IRS colleagues will take Paanch Saal Kejriwal as the Delhi CM. When Kejriwal first…
became a national newsmaker, he was the master-strategist of the Anna movement against corruption. BoI in an article dated August 20, 2011 wrote about him like this: “Arvind Kejriwal was an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer who worked as Additional Commissioner of Income Tax in Delhi before opting for a quiet exit of his high profile government job. A crusader for stringent anti-corruption laws in India now, Kejriwal once met Mother Teresa in Kolkata and worked for her…” Many of his IRS colleagues then were not very happy with Kejriwal as he took on the establishment where the tax officials like other bureaucrats and politicians were very much a part of.
Kejriwal knew, if he was to take on corruption, he could not spare his bureaucrat colleagues too. But at times, he went overboard and gave sweeping statements to make his larger point. For example, in a radio advertisement broadcast in the month of November, 2013, he claimed he could have made crores of rupees as an income-tax commissioner, but he left the service to serve the nation. IRS Association in a written statement objected to his charge saying that his statement was “unnecessarily damaging the image of this fine service” while reminding him that his wife was still a member of the department. Kejriwal’s wife Sunita is also an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer.
“In these circumstances, we request you to desist from and immediately stop making such statements in public and in print and electronic media; otherwise we will be constrained to take steps to protect our image”, the IRS Association’s letter to Kejriwal dated November 22, 2013 said.
In his 49-day-long stint as the chief minister of Delhi, there was no instance where Kejriwal had any issue with IRS officers. Even now, IRS officers won’t come under him, and hence, they would remain at an arm’s length from the Delhi CM.
But Kejriwal last time virtually waged a war against the Delhi Police brass. Many IPS honchos of UT cadre have not liked the idea of Kejriwal’s as next Delhi CM. Most Delhi Police’s top officers want Delhi Police to remain under union home ministry rather than becoming an arm of Delhi government. But Kejriwal may use all his tricks and muscles to bring the Delhi Police to his own fold. And that’s where some IPS officers may have major issues with this IRS-turned political heavyweight.
If political pundits are to be believed, Kejriwal this time won’t be a man in a hurry. That means, he may not engineer any major disruption at the top echelon of bureaucracy. Instead, he may work towards bringing in systems to halt corruption and increase efficiency. Also, Kejriwal is unlikely to hit the streets to protest this time, as his own campaign slogan, Paanch Saal Kejriwal, or five years for Kejriwal, is more about stability than anti-corruption crusade.
For some AGMUT cadre IAS officers who are getting side-lined now, it would be an opportunity for staging a comeback. For example, 1989 batch AGMUT cadre IAS and former secretary to CM (Kejriwal) Rajendra Kumar is likely to be a highly influential bureaucrat under the AAP rule. Like Kejriwal, Kumar is also an IIT alumnus and is personally known to Kejriwal.
For most senior bureaucrats, the challenge will be to cope up with the situation in case Kejriwal from the day one aggressively pursues cases against the high and mighty. It will also depend on whether Kejriwal will undertake a mega reshuffle in senior bureaucracy.
But if all indications suggest, Kejriwal will be a calculated man this time around.


  1. Arvind Kejriwal's wife Sunita Kejriwal is still very much in service (IRS). She did not quit service. She is posted in Delhi now.

  2. Thank you, dear reader. We have corrected it.