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Warding off the evil eye

There is no immediate crisis in the NCP. But some of its ministers are rather worried about their future, writes Shailesh Gaikwad.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2009 00:59 IST
Shailesh Gaikwad.

There is no immediate crisis in the NCP. But some of its ministers are rather worried about their future.

One prominent NCP mantriji who was ‘rehabilitated’ in the Cabinet after the recent Assembly elections was so worried he refused to move into his new office and take charge of his department before a Vaastu-Shanti ceremony made it ‘safe’ for him. He was not taking any chances — he did not want any evil spirits to affect his political career again.

Another minister decided — after much consultation — that he should change the direction of his sea-facing chair. And yet another member who wanted to wait for the right muhurat took charge two days after everyone else.

Now that superstition has been taken care of, can we request them to concentrate on governance?

A change at home

Home Minister R R Patil is not a known fan of MNS chief Raj Thackeray but he makes it a point to speak in Marathi when it comes to talking to Hindi news channels.

Last year, Patil had to step down after the row over a statement to news channels about the intelligence failure post 26/11.

Patil insisted that the channels had misquoted him on his “Badi shahron mein chhoti baate hoti hai” and that he was referring to micro-level surveillance failures by intelligence agencies. But nobody bought his explanation.

Now that he is back as Home Minister, Patil does not want to take any chances — especially as the first anniversary of 26/11 is around the corner.

So he now speaks in Marathi to eliminate any chances of goof-ups.

Desperate measures

The race for the chief secretary’s post is hotting up as Johny Joseph retires this month. One aspirant officer who thought his chances were slim approached an influential NCP minister, pleading with him to put in a word to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

In return, the desperate contender promised that he would ensure clearance of each and every file sent by the minister. Last heard, other contenders were wondering how to top that offer.

Scramble…

With a new government in the saddle, a heavy reshuffle of bureaucrats in Mantralaya is on the cards as CM Ashok Chavan plans to appoint new secretaries in key departments like revenue, urban development and finance.

This has led to heavy lobbying with bureaucratic hopefuls approaching the CM himself or influential ministers. Some want to get coveted posts; others want to retain the post they already have. Only after that’s done can the business of government begin.