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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Mumbai confidential: In The Driver’s Chair

Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta, whose extended tenure comes to an end in March, enjoys good equations with the Shiv Sena as well as the NCP. But we have heard that some senior Sena ministers are miffed about how much Thackeray relies on the chief secretary’s office.

Written by Sandeep Ashar | Mumbai | Published: February 3, 2020 3:15:17 am
Uddhav Thackeray, Ajoy Mehta, maharashtra government, maharashtra power dynamics, maharashtra news, indian express news Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta

The latest story doing the rounds in the corridors of power is how Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta’s office has become even more powerful in a three-party coalition set-up. Sources said this could also be the result of Uddhav Thackeray being directly vaulted into the chief minister’s chair. Mehta, whose extended tenure comes to an end in March, enjoys good equations with the Shiv Sena as well as the NCP. But we have heard that some senior Sena ministers are miffed about how much Thackeray relies on the chief secretary’s office.

Reaching Out

If sources are to be believed, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has plans to accommodate former minister and trusted aide Ravindra Waikar in his office. We have heard that Thackeray, meanwhile, has plans to allocate the chairman’s post in Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) to Sanjay Raut’s younger brother Sunil, who too had missed out on a ministerial berth.

Off To The Mountains

After a hectic election campaign and the subsequent power struggle, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray opted for a short trip to Mahabaleshwar with his family and friends. Sources said the hill station is Thackeray’s favourite holiday destination and his family is known to take a trip to the destination at least once a year.

Top Contender

After heading the panel formed for studying the possibility of moving the Metro car shed out of Aarey, Additional Chief Secretary Manoj Saunik, a 1987-batch IAS officer, is now being seen as the top contender to replace Nitin Kareer (1988) as the secretary of the urban development I department. While the name of another senior bureaucrat, Inder Singh Chahal (1989), is also doing the rounds for the key post, grapevine is that Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde, also seen as the most powerful Sena minister in the Thackeray government, has backed Saunik’s nomination to the post.

Trusted Hand

Many eyebrows have been raised in the corridors of power over the abrupt transfer of Prajakta Lavangare-Verma (2001-batch IAS officer) from the excise commissioner’s post. There is a buzz that Excise Minister Dilip Walse-Patil was not getting along with Verma. With Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appointing K B Umap (2005) to the post, Walse-Patil seems to have got his way. Umap has previously served as a private secretary to Walse-Patil.

Compiled by Sandeep Ashar

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