Mumbai Confidential: Feather In The Caphttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/mumbai-confidential-feather-in-the-cap-eknath-shinde-shiv-sena-devendra-fadnavis-5402009/

Mumbai Confidential: Feather In The Cap

With the BJP’s own assessment indicating that the public mood this time is not as upbeat as in 2014, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is not leaving anything to chance.

Ekanth Shinde. (File)

Eknath Shinde is set for another career milestone. While he is already the most powerful Shiv Sena minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government, his rise within the partyfold continues. Sources say Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has put him in charge of the organisation of the party’s annual Dusshera melava at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park. Shinde’s resounding electoral performances in Thane had earlier seen him pip other senior party ministers — Subhash Desai, Diwakar Roate and Ramdas Kadam — for the top billing. Sources say another reason for his rise within the party is his growing bonhomie with Fadnavis.

In Election Mode

While assembly polls in Maharashtra are still a year away, the Chief Minister’s Office has already switched to election mode. With the BJP’s own assessment indicating that the public mood this time is not as upbeat as in 2014, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is not leaving anything to chance. He has started paying visits to various districts and has been personally reviewing the progress of the implementation of various projects on the ground. The CMO’s war room is also working round the clock to ensure that the poll promises made in 2014 are implemented before the election season kicks in.

And The Post Goes To?

The Maharashtra Public Service Commission’s post has been lying vacant for four months now. While Director General (Shipping) Malini Shankar, an IAS officer of the 1984 batch, had applied for the post, she has just been nominated by the government as a member of the newly constituted board of the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services, and is unlikely to take up any post-retirement assignment for now. She is to retire in December-end. While former Director General of Police Satish Mathur (1981 batch, IPS), who retired in June, and A N Tripathi (1987 batch, IFS), who had earlier served as Secretary to the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, have also evinced interest in the post, eyebrows are being raised in bureaucratic circles over the delay in filling up the post. Names of other probable contenders have also started doing the rounds as a result of it.

Swachh Mantralaya

Cleanliness they say begins at home. Well, the mandarins at Mantralaya have just decided to act on this mantra. A cleanliness fortnight is being observed in the state secretariat from October 13, with all government departments directed to check dumping of paper waste in their offices and corridors, and clearing off furniture blocking open spaces and fire exits. Sources say Chief Secretary Dinesh Kumar Jain is personally monitoring the implementation of the drive. He even went on an inspection round on Saturday.

Ghar Wapsi

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Baldev Singh (1989 batch, IAS), who is currently on a central deputation, is likely to return to the state cadre around the end of this month. The Centre has processed the state government’s request for his repatriation and formal orders in this regard are expected soon, said sources. He is being seen as a frontrunner for the state’s agriculture secretary’s post. Singh had been appointed as the Development Commissioner in Santa Cruz Exclusive Processing Zone, SEZ Mumbai in July, 2017, for a period of five years. But his repatriation was requested after he offered to return to the state cadre.

Matters Of Home

While Mumbai Additional Municipal Commissioner Vijay Singhal (1997 batch, IAS), who had courted controversy for overstaying in a sprawling bungalow belonging to the state’s excise department, has finally agreed to shift out of the premises, sources say it might still take a while before he moves out. While Singhal has now been allotted a 2.5-BHK government accommodation in the Neelambri building near Mantralaya, sources confirmed that based on his request, the state’s public works department has undertaken extensive repair and renovation work, which is likely to take some time. The flat in question was previously occupied by Director General (Shipping) Malini Shankar (1984 batch, IAS). The excise department bungalow is to be razed for the construction of Excise Bhavan.

For Protocol Only

The Parliamentary Affairs department has stated that the cabinet status accorded to chief whips of the BJP and the Shiv Sena will be limited to protocol matters only. It has made it clear the perks, salaries, and allowances given to a cabinet minister won’t be extended to the chief whips. The same norm will also be applicable for the five whips belonging to the BJP (2), Shiv Sena (1), Congress (1) and Nationalist Congress Party (1), who enjoy the status of a minister of state. But to mollify these leaders the state’s legislative secretariat will pay them a monthly allowance of Rs 25,000 (chief whips), and Rs 20,000 (whips) over and above their entitlements as legislators. They will also be paid a bulk amount as travel allowance.

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