The BJP high command in Delhi is reportedly miffed with party ministers and leaders over the handling of the latest pro-reservation protests by the Maratha community. With Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis finding himself cornered both within and outside the party over the issue, party president Amit Shah had to reportedly step in and restore some order. Sources said after Shah’s intervention, other senior BJP ministers began defending Fadnavis. It was on Shah’s instructions that a joint meeting of all parties was convened to discuss the issue.
Farmer suicides and a deepening agrarian crisis have been the sore point of the Devendra Fadnavis government. But the CMO is now banking on a new man to better this equation. Speculation is rife in the corridors of power that 1990-batch IAS officer Anoop Kumar, who is known to share a good rapport with Fadnavis, is the firm favourite to bag the agriculture secretary’s post, once Additional Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar retires next month. Kumar, who is the Divisional Commissioner in Nagpur, is keen on the new assignment, confirmed reliable sources.
Pankaja Munde has caused another flutter within the BJP ranks with her veiled attack on the chief minister. With the latter facing the brunt of the Maratha pro-reservation protests, Munde’s comment that if the reservation file had been on her table she would have cleared it without a day’s delay has led to a row. If insiders in the BJP camp are to be believed, the Rural Development Minister, who never hid her chief ministerial ambitions, was looking to capitalise on the opportunity to brand herself as a leader across caste lines.
Not Liking It
Principal Secretary Nand Kumar continues to be uneasy with his current role as the state’s protocol secretary. Less than two months after he was transferred to the post, sources say he is looking to move out. Word is that the 1989-batch IAS officer is pushing hard to bag the state’s co-operation secretary’s post, which falls vacant this month-end. But with several other contenders eyeing the key post, all eyes are now on who the chief minister picks for the job.
Seema Dhamdhere, executive director of Maharashtra’s Swachh Bharat Mission, is being seen as a top contender to become a member of the prestigious Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC). If appointed, this would be the second post-retirement assignment that the state has conferred on her.