March 1, 2021 1:08:23 am
THE APPOINTMENT of 1985-batch IAS officer Sitaram Kunte as Chief Secretary has settled for good an old professional rivalry with Praveen Pardeshi, his inter se senior. While Kunte is set to retire at the end of the year, the question being asked is if he will be asked to stay on for an extended term. Kunte, who keeps a lower profile than Pardeshi, is known to have a good working relationship with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
AFTER BEING dropped as BMC commissioner at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Praveen Pardeshi, who usually lands on his feet, swung a United Nations assignment in Geneva, and returned just in time to make his claim for the post of chief secretary. But what worked against Pardeshi was his proximity to former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, for whom he was the eyes and ears. Also, Shiv Sena sources said Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who has an elephantine memory for perceived slights, did not take too kindly to Pardeshi’s reluctance to take a state government posting after his exit from the BMC. Now that he has lost out to his old Delhi University friend Sitaram Kunte, all eyes are on what next for Pardeshi. He is right now in the general administration department.
THE DECISION not to hold the Speaker’s election in the Budget session of the Legislative Assembly has taken a huge weight off the Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s chest, and given it a breather to think the matter through. Otherwise, it was feared an election might bring forth dormant tensions in the coalition government during the session. Sources in MVA said the Shiv Sena was keen on putting up Prithviraj Chavan, but he was not a unanimous choice. The NCP was backing other Congress candidates, namely Sangram Thopte or K C Padwi.
Change of Mind
A SENIOR Congress corporator created buzz last week by announcing that he was going to blow the lid off a major procurement scandal in the BMC. Came the day, came the hour, but not the man. Asked about his change of mind, the corporator had an honest explanation: he did not want to upset the Shiv Sena before the standing committee released his corporator fund. Watch this space.
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