Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has developed a typical Rajdarbar tactics to deal with the bureaucracy over the past 10 years—give a tough message when there is no option, otherwise buck them up to get a task done.
His critics may miss the micro-managerial finesse in his tough-and- soft dealings with the bureaucracy. But, Chouhan was noticed when he removed the then chief secretary Vijay Singh a little after taking charge of his office in 2005.
Most of the critics had then questioned his style of governance and raised apprehensions about his relationships-to-be with the bureaucracy. But, he was quick enough to adapt to the new office ways and perfect his way of dealing with the bureaucrats — get the work done through the administrative machinery and keep sending out a messages that callousness is not acceptable.
Recently, Rajgarh collector Anand Sharma was removed because he tried to misinterpret Chouhan’s orders that were directly related to a large number of farmers.
Collector Bhind Madhukar Agneya was removed because of his insensitive remarks. Commissioner tribal welfare Jagdish Malpani was removed on Friday after an audio clip related to his alleged demands surfaced.
On the other hand, a section of senior officials feel that the CM has his bias and preferences.
They said in the latest case of Petlawad blast-- in Jhabua which left more than 80 persons dead, the government transferred the SP. However, the Jhabua collector was spared though a collector in any district is equally responsible in such matters.
Similarly, former chief secretary Rakesh Sahni who had superseded several IAS officers to get the coveted post, continues to hold some position or the other after his retirement, thanks to Chouhan’s special favours for him, said an official.
“People may have different opinions about him regarding his relations with the bureaucrats. But, I think that he was successful in getting his projects being implemented through them”, said a political commentator Girija Shankar.
“He did not have any experience of dealing with the bureaucracy till he assumed the chief minister’s office. Yet, he is able to get desired results from them,” Shankar said.
“He was intelligent enough to realise that his political arms will not help him get his dream projects and schemes executed. Since then he did not repeat the mistake of taking decision on the whims,” said a senior bureaucrat wishing not to be named.
“He has evolved as an able administrator over the years. He relied heavily on bureaucracy during his first term but with time, he evolved as Brand Shivraj and won second term on his own. His image as an able administrator got a slight dent when Vyapam scam surfaced”, senior journalist Rasheed Kidwai said. “However, the best thing about him is that he hasn’t aligned with any ‘lobby’ and takes decision on his own,” he said.