So what was the first thing P. Chidambaram spoke about when he met IAS officers posted as district magistrates of the 33 districts infested by Naxals? Don’t ask me for a transfer, the home minister said at the beginning of his address during a special interaction with them last week. The district administration is at the centre of the home ministry’s strategy against Naxals that requires them to swiftly move into action as soon as the police clear out a particular area. But the home ministry, and the minister, were also aware officials who could not pull strings at the state secretariat were the only ones to be posted in naxal-affected districts. “The ones with clout manage to steer their career path at a safe distance from the red corridor,” one of them cribbed.