With the first stage of polling already over and the focus shifting to the next phase, governance at the secretariat has taken a beating with officers deferring decision making to the new government that may assume power after the elections.
There are no visitors and even very little movement of files. Since the CM himself is busy doing rounds of the districts addressing meetings, the fifth floor too is nearly empty. So are the offices of his cabinet colleagues, who also remain busy with the polls.
A visit to the corridors of power gives a different look. The usual movement of legislators and ministers with their stooges is completing missing. So, what is happening in the secretariat nowadays? Virtually nothing! “We are using this opportunity to systematise the functioning of our offices,” said a senior officer.
“This period is also being used for office housekeeping,” he said. This appears true even for the chief minister’s office at Lal Bahadur Shastri Bhawan where the ground floor reception for visitors is being refurbished with a wooden partition giving way to metallic frames.
At most other offices, however, it is time for gossiping and chatting. Discussions mostly centre around the unprecedented security arrangements or on how many seats the parties are gaining or losing.
“See the number of CPMF the EC has deployed for the poll,” said a senior officer. “Others could be seen discussing the impact of CPMF deployment in the elections. “We are just releasing routine financial sanctions,” said a senior officer adding that the Vidhan Sabha has already passed the vote on account.
As the Model Code of Conduct ensures no new projects, that initiative too is lacking. “We do not propose any thing new or else it may amount to violation of the code of conduct,” he said adding all the new initiatives have to be referred to the new cabinet. Even monitoring of the ongoing projects has suffered, said another officer. “Officers posted in districts are busy with elections. We do not force them to ensure monitoring and send a report at this stage,” he added.
“Our work is going on as usual. Only selected files are sent to the minister. As most of the ministers are out of Lucknow, seeking their clearance is a time consuming process,” said another officer. “The number of visitors to the secretariat, however, has come down,” he said adding, “We do not see so many visitors in office.”
A former MP from Etah could be seen telling how the first phase of election was held peacefully under the supervision of the CPMF. Holding the election in a peaceful manner was a big achievement for the CPMF, he said. “Not a single case was registered at any of the police stations ever since the CPMF were deployed in Etah,” he said.
Since polling in his area was over, he was in Lucknow to meet some ministers, he said adding the ministers were still busy taking stock of post-poll scenario.