In the past year, high profile bureaucrat Ajoy Mehta has emerged as the Chief Minister’s Man Friday. As the state’s Chief Secretary first, and later as CM’s Principal Advisor, he has served as a key link between Thackeray and the bureaucracy. But the word is that Mehta is readying himself for a brand-new role. Sources confirmed that he has applied for the post of chairperson of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) and the Real Estate Regulatory Commission head, both of which are falling vacant in the first two months of 2021. It is learnt that Mehta, who would like to continue his current role as well, prefers the second option.
The race for the MERC’s new chairperson is hotting up. Besides Ajoy Mehta, we are told that Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar, who is retiring in February, is also vying for the post as well as the RERA head’s post. It would be interesting to see who bags what. More than 24 people have applied for the MERC’s chairperson role, including Maharashtra Public Service Commission Chairman Satish Gawai and MERC member Mukesh Khullar, a former Energy Secretary.
Staying Put For Now
In what is the latest turf war between senior ministers and the bureaucracy, the CMO has been forced to defer transfer of eight deputy secretaries following objections raised by senior ministers Ajit Pawar and Ashok Chavan. It is learnt that at least two sets of transfers are to do with an overhaul proposed in the Chavan-led Public Works department. The transfer files were put up for CM’s approval despite Chavan’s objections.
Who Is To Blame?
Was the CM and his son Aaditya Thackeray aware of the multiple litigations and ownership claims for the Kanjurmarg plot? Perhaps not. If sources close to the CM are to be believed, the Thackeray duo are miffed with a senior bureaucrat who had convinced them that the Kanjurmarg land earmarked for the car shed was not a matter of any legal dispute. But then, the Saunik committee, appointed by Thackeray, had clearly pointed to the multiple litigations in its report. Who is to blame?
Maharashtra’s Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil won hearts when he agreed to pose patiently for a picture captured by a six-year-old during an official tour in his home town of Sangli. Walking up to Patil while the latter was engaged in conversation with adults, the toddler requested that he be allowed to take Patil’s photo. The minister obliged. Earlier this week, yet another NCP minister Dattatray Bharne had similarly won some smiles by agreeing to click a few photos of unassuming tourists at Marine Drive, who were unaware of his ministerial status.
Compiled By Sandeep A Ashar
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