A day after President’s Rule was imposed in Maharashtra, all former state ministers from the Congress and the NCP were asked to vacate their offices by Monday evening and move out of their bungalows in 15 days. Their police protection too was withdrawn immediately.
Sources at Mantralaya said on instructions from governor CH Vidyasagar Rao, the general administration department (GAD) issued orders on Monday morning directing all ministers to vacate their offices by 4pm. GAD officials even began removing nameplates from the offices. Ministers’ staff at Mantralaya spent the day sorting files and documents.
The offices are expected to be sealed on Tuesday, once all files are cleared and utilities provided by the government returned. “We will tally the list of facilities provided with what they deposit back. Once the department is satisfied with the compliance of the formalities, the cabins will be sealed. We have already started removing nameplates from the cabins,” said a GAD official.
The official added the report of compliance has to be submitted by chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya to the governor in the next two days.
“The security personnel, other than those deployed under the threat perception-based category, will be withdrawn by Tuesday. The police personnel deputed at the offices and bungalows of ministers have already been withdrawn. Security to the ex-chief minister and his deputy has been reduced. “The pilot cars in their convoys will also go, but security personnel and escort vans will remain since both enjoy Z-category security,” said the official.
KP Bakshi, additional chief secretary of GAD, said: “The security-related decisions have to be taken by the chief secretary and director general of police (DGP). But the officials have been repatriated, offices have been taken back and vehicles have also been deposited back to the department.”
According to a personal secretary of a minister, most of the ministers have vacated their offices. “We will send the files that are lying with us to the respective departments, from where they will be routed and the list will be submitted to the GAD. Usually, at least 8 days are given after the government is dissolved for shifting files and other belongings. But, this time, the directives have asked for immediate vacation of offices,” he said. Outgoing chief minister Prithviraj Chavan called his staff to the official bungalow on Sunday evening to express his gratitude.
“It is happening for the first time in the last three decades that the new chief minister or ministers will have to begin with appointing their staff after taking over. In routine cases, when a new government is formed, the staff continues to be in the establishment until the newly appointed ministers endorse the appointments,” said Chavan.