February 1, 2021 1:06:19 am
The sluggish pace of file clearance in the Shiv Sena-led urban development department has become a topic of conversation in Mantralaya. Sources say department Minister Eknath Shinde’s office has been sitting on a lot of files. With Shinde often regarded as the most powerful Sena leader outside the Thackeray family, the delay in even routine files receiving approvals are raising questions.
Winds of change
Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer Baldev Singh is tipped to become the state’s new secretary (Industries). The CM-led general administration department has already written to the Election Commission of India, requesting that the 1989-batch IAS officer be relieved of his current duties. It has recommended three names – Shrikant Deshpande (1991-batch), Anand Limaye (1989) and Aseem Gupta (1994) – as probables to succeed Singh to the post.
To expand Shiv Sena’s footprint in Vidarbha, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has been personally trying to strike a bond with Vidarbhaites. Thackeray, who has avoided official tours as far as possible during the pandemic, has visited the belt on four occasions in the last two months, promising the region’s speedy development. In his latest visit in January, he even invoked his family ties – his mother hails from Amravati – to establish a connection. Thackeray’s party Shiv Sena currently represents only four of the 62 Assembly segments in Vidharbha.
Worth fighting for
The chance to land a government job is worth fighting for. No wonder then that the post of chairperson to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has attracted a lot of interesting applications. At last count, 82 applicants had applied for the position. Besides serving and retired IAS and IPS officers, the aspirants list includes a social worker, a matron, a former trainee at All India Radio, a banker and a retired judge among others.
Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar, due to retire later this month, is considered to be a top contender for the MERC chief’s post along with the CM’s Principal Advisor Ajoy Mehta, MPSC Chairman Satish Gawai, senior bureaucrat Kishor Raje Nimbalkar and MERC member Mukesh Khullar. But there’s a catch. As chief secretary, Kumar is also the head of the selection panel that makes appointments to the post. Sources said that he will recuse himself from the panel. Home Secretary Sitaram Kunte, the most senior serving bureaucrat in state after Kumar, will most likely head the panel.
Former BJP minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar’s latest allegation that the 2019 Assembly poll outcome for the Latur rural seat – won by former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s son Dheeraj – was fixed beforehand has set political tongues wagging. Whilst targeting former ally Shiv Sena, which had put up a candidate against Dheeraj in the poll, Nilangekar has also fired a barb at then CM Devendra Fadnavis, who had agreed to relinquish BJP’s claim on the seat for the neighbouring Ausa, where Fadnavis’ former personal assistant Abhimanyu Pawar won as the BJP candidate.
Compiled by SANDEEP ASHAR
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