Delhi: bureaucrats to run the show from secretariat

  • Neha Pushkarna, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Feb 16, 2014 12:48 IST
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    Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal at a special session of the Delhi Assembly in New Delhi on February 14, 2014. (PTI photo)

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With Delhi under the direct control of the Centre after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government stepped down on Friday, a bunch of bureaucrats are expected to run the show from the Delhi secretariat from now on.

The AAP government, after stepping into power last December, had initiated a major reshuffle among the bureaucrats, with two-three IAS and DANICS officers being shunted out every two-three days.

At least 30 officials, including several of those who held crucial positions during Sheila Dikshit's tenure, are said to have been shuffled within the first fortnight of the AAP's rule. But with the AAP government stepping down from power, a number of officials have started to breathe a sigh of relief.

Read: What will happen to popular helplines set up by AAP?

"While Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung will rule on behalf of the president, the chief secretary will be responsible for the day-to-day administration. It doesn't matter to us if the government has collapsed," said a senior Delhi government official. He said now only political decisions will not be taken.

"Our work will continue as usual. We have the L-G, chief secretary SK Srivastava and then each department has a secretary. They are the real government anyway," he added.

According to Article 356, which gives administrative provision following the collapse of a state government, the L-G can bring back retired officers to help him or set up his own team of officers who would act as council of ministers.

Read: What Kejriwal's govt achieved in its 49 days

"Transfers will still happen but only wherever required. It won't be random like before when officers were moved according to the whims and fancies of the ministers," said another official of the DANICS cadre.

At least six officials were appointed as officers on special duty to assist each of the six ministers. For instance, the general manager of Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) was posted as the officer on special duty to former law minister Somnath Bharti.

Read: Ramlila Maidan to Delhi assembly, jan lokpal bill fails the first hurdle

PWD and urban development minister Manish Sisodia was assisted by C Arvind, additional commissioner (trade and taxes).

"Such officials may be relieved of their additional charge. Things will be clear on Monday," said an official who agreed that working with Arvind Kejriwal was an unique experience. Many found it exhausting as Kejriwal would often work non-stop.

Read: Kejriwal hits and runs, pulls plug on own govt after failing to table jan lokpal bill

It will be interesting to see what role does principal secretary to Kejriwal, Rajendra Kumar, who was in the middle of all the action, now takes up. He had replaced MM Kutty, who was the principal secretary to Sheila Dikshit and was transferred the same day that Kejriwal was sworn in.

A close confidante of Dikshit - who looked after planning, finance and tourism - was made the secretary of social welfare. He was later called back to work as the secretary of finance.

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