The transfers of nearly 50 administrative and police officers in Uttar Pradesh by Chief Minister Mayawati is being viewed as a punitive measure after the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party's (BSP) poor performance in the general elections.
Many are saying that some officers belonging to the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) were shunted out on Friday simply because BSP candidates in their respective districts had lost the election.
While a dozen district magistrates and nearly three dozen superintendents of police (SPs) and deputy inspectors general of police (DIGs) have already come in the line of fire, more may follow in the next few days, insiders claim. The BSP won only 20 of the state's 80 Lok Sabha seats.
On top of the list of shifted IAS officers is the upright Kanpur divisional commissioner Dinesh Singh. He got the axe after the victory of Congress nominee and former union minister of state Shriprakash Jaiswal.
A senior IPS officer, who was given the marching orders from a prominent district, told IANS on condition of anonymity: "I fail to understand what the government wants. Does it expect a district police chief or a district magistrate to ensure victory for the ruling party candidate? Otherwise why else should he or she be punished in the event of the defeat of its nominee?"
Among other IAS officers transferred are the district magistrates of Sant Kabir Nagar, Rae Bareli, Unnao, Budaun, Firozabad, Kaushambhi, Mathura, Sultanpur, Sant Ravidas Nagar and Mainpuri.
Retired IAS officer RC Tripathi, who has also been secretary general of the Rajya Sabha, said: "Any government where a district magistrate or superintendent of police or any other officer is compelled to ensure the victory of a ruling party nominee in an election would be defeating the very spirit of the Indian constitution.
"An IAS or IPS officer owes allegiance to the constitution, which clearly lays down that he will not side with any political party."
He said: "The transfer of officers for the simple reason that the ruling party nominee under his jurisdiction gets defeated in an election is a new phenomenon and I never experienced it in my nearly four-decade-long service."
Some point out that Brahmin officers continue to remain on Mayawati's "privileged" list as demonstrated by the fact that the IAS officers transferred do not include a single officer belonging to the community.
"Even Scheduled Caste officers have not been spared, but Brahmins remain the privileged lot," said an officer who has been transferred. He cited the case of Lucknow divisional commissioner Prashant Trivedi who continues in his post even after the BSP's high profile nominee Akhilesh Das was badly defeated.