As Chief Secretary Praveen Kumar Tripathi retires in December, the power corridors are abuzz with talk on who will take over the most powerful office in the government of Delhi.
A 1977-batch AGMU-cadre Indian Administrative Service officer, Tripathi had taken over as the chief secretary in April 2011 after working very closely with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as her principal secretary for almost five years.
Tripathi is now tipped to become special adviser to chief minister, a special post being created for him. “We are working on something but nothing is finalised yet," Dikshit had told Hindustan Times a few days ago. He would be on a par with the chief secretary and enjoy similar perks and benefits.
Sources said Tripathi had already got necessary approvals for his appointment as the chairman of the Public Grievance Commission (PGC). However, this post is said to be only his fallback option.
R Chandramohan, who retired as principal secretary in October, may get the PGC post if Tripathi becomes the special adviser, sources said.
However, it is the race to the seat of the chief secretary that is being keenly followed in the Delhi government circles.
There are five senior IAS officers who can stake claim to the chief secretary's seat. Sources, however, said the government may choose between current finance secretary Deepak Mohan Spolia and power secretary Shakti Sinha.
Both Spolia and Sinha are 1979-batch IAS officers. “Both the officers have their own merits. While Spolia is very experienced, has worked in almost all important departments in Delhi, Sinha is very hands-on and practical in his approach," said a source.
However, not too many officers and even some ministers are comfortable working with Spolia. “His habit of sitting on important files may go against him. It is after all the election year," a source said. “But it was he who had come to the rescue of the government when there were allegations of corruption during CWG and had worked hard in preparing replies to the CAG and PM-appointed Shunglu committee,” he added.
Sinha, on the other hand, was recently caught in a controversy when an IRS officer accused him of harassment.