Mumbai confidential: The Big Racehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/devendra-fadnavis-ajoy-mehta-dinesh-kumar-jain-mumbai-confidential-the-big-race-5496549/

Mumbai confidential: The Big Race

With Uddhav Thackeray not invited for the Metro rail inauguration, the Shiv Sena hurriedly carried out the inauguration of the Mumbai coastal road on Sunday, not inviting even the Chief Minister for the event.

Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain

There is still a month and a half to go before Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain’s (1983) retirement from service, but intense lobbying has already begun for his successor. Even as a camp in the corridors of power is pushing for a three-month extension for Jain on account of the drought in the state and the impending Lok Sabha polls, the names of U P S Madan (1983) and Ajoy Mehta (1984) are doing the rounds to succeed him to the post.

Aam Aadmi Factor

With the 2019 polls in mind, the common man’s vote will be firmly on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mind when he visits Mumbai on December 18. During his day-long trip, Modi will be launching Metro rail projects in Kalyan and Pune, and social housing schemes. He is also scheduled to preside over a book launch of legendary cartoonist R K Laxman’s works at Raj Bhavan in the morning, besides attending a news channel’s summit.

Post-Retirement Perk

Word is that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has given his go-ahead regarding the appointment of Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Sunil Porwal as an information commissioner post his retirement this month-end. Porwal is expected to be named as Information Commissioner (Konkan bench). Meanwhile, one of the names that has begun doing the rounds to succeed Porwal in the Home department is that of Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) Manu Kumar Srivastava.

Balancing Act

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis might have acceded to political pressure from his own partymen and benched high-profile bureaucrat Tukaram Mundhe (2005), but sources say that he has gone out of his way to accommodate another request from Mundhe. Despite local opposition, Fadnavis has permitted Mundhe and his family to continue staying at the Nashik civic commissioner’s bungalow for the time being. He was earlier abruptly shunted out from the Nashik civic commissioner’s post on November 22. While he was later positioned as a Joint Secretary in the state’s Planning department, this posting was cancelled after Finance and Planning Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar objected to it.

Late Hours

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The Assembly session of the state legislature is a busy time for top bureaucrats, who are expected to perform their routine work besides attending to legislative business. With late work hours almost a norm when the Assembly is in session, Director of Health Services Dr Sanjeev Kamble had reportedly installed a cot in his office’s ante-chamber and spent some nights in his office itself, during the recently completed winter session of the legislature. Kamble resides in Thane, and travelling from his office to his residence often takes a couple of hours. His subordinates say that Kamble, who is scheduled to retire in a month’s time, has been burning the midnight oil.

Squabble Continues

Ties between the BJP and the Shiv Sena have hit another bump. Sources in Mantralaya say Uddhav Thackeray’s party was keen that the Metro rail inauguration, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to preside on December 18, take place in the Thane municipal limits, but the Devendra Fadnavis government opted for a site in Kalyan. With Uddhav Thackeray not invited for the Metro rail inauguration, the Shiv Sena hurriedly carried out the inauguration of the Mumbai coastal road on Sunday, not inviting even the Chief Minister for the event.

Compiled by Sandeep Ashar and Tabassum Barnagarwala