Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is looking to use hospitality to ensure the men who hold the key to more funds from the Centre’s kitty give the state a big thumbs up. His government has decided to roll out the red carpet for 15th Finance Commission Chairman N K Singh and his colleagues, lavishing them with a welcome reserved for ‘state guests’ during their visit to the state later this month. Among other demands, Maharashtra has been pushing the Centre to consider special grants for the commercial capital for three years now.
Eyebrows are being raised over the appointment of 2008-batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer Rupesh Agrawal as the General Manager of the state-run Maharashtra Information Technology Corporation. Agrawal was previously holding the post of Deputy Director (Investigation) in Mumbai’s Income-Tax office, but sources said orders for his transfer out of Mumbai had recently been issued. Speculation is also rife that an influential power broker, known to be close to the current regime, has lobbied hard for his deputation.
The presence of businessman Vijay Kalantri at the meeting of former Union minister Yashwant Sinha’s Rashtra Manch in South Mumbai this past week has raised some eyebrows. Although Sinha, a known Modi critic, has been maintaining that his outfit is apolitical, he has never hidden the fact that its main objective is to raise the public rhetoric against the Modi dispensation. In the corridors of power, Kalantri was earlier known for his close ties with a senior Maharashtra Congress leader.
A lateral entrant holding a key position in the Chief Minister’s Office appears to have lost the CM’s favour owing to his unconventional ways and complaints against him. If sources in the CMO are anything to go by, instructions may have already been issued to ensure that the official’s role in the scheme of things is minimised, and he is cut down to size.
With some of the Maratha pro-reservation factions threatening to disrupt the official flag-hoisting ceremonies in various districts, government sources say some senior ministers in the Fadnavis cabinet are cagey about presiding over such celebrations.
Missing The Bus
While journalist-turned-politician Harivansh Narayan Singh was elected Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, another journalist missed out. Reportedly, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut was keen to bag the post, and had even expressed his willingness regarding this to his party chief, Uddhav Thackeray. But Thackeray, a vocal Modi government critic, had nipped it by adopting a stance that his party won’t take any new post in the Modi government.