Vijay Kumar Dev was replaced as adviser to the UT administrator by the Union home ministry on Wednesday, cutting short his three-year tenure to just an eventful stint of less than 15 months. This is being seen as apparent fallout of his cold vibes with the administrator, Punjab and Haryana governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, and an uneasy equation with the local BJP leadership.
His replacement is Parimal Rai, an IAS officer of the 1985 batch who, like Dev, belongs to the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre, and is at present working in the government of the National Capital Territory (Delhi). Sources said Rai is expected to join by Monday.
Dev now stands shifted to the Delhi government, though his post wasn’t yet known. He was the Delhi chief electoral officer before taking his posting here on December 24, 2014.
COTERIE ABOVE POLITICIANS
The ouster came a day after four other AGMUT-cadre IAS officers — at least three of them young officers who were termed Dev’s coterie — got transfer orders to Arunachal. Sources said the adviser and his coterie were seen as taking major decisions not fully taking the administrator and the local political leadership on board. One such issue was the shifting of 13 villages currently under the UT administration to the purview of the municipal corporation, which the BJP is opposed to. Dev could not be contacted for comment.
However, city BJP chief Sanjay Tandon reacted by saying that he was “shocked to learn about the sudden transfer”. “He was working with full sincerity to resolve all pending issues. I feel that his going at this time is a great loss to the city,” he added.
CONTROVERSIES FROM START
The transfer, though, is also the culmination of a string of controversies that Dev courted from the beginning of his term — which made him a polarising figure among the public. His much-touted pro-activeness was seen in field visits to several offices in the initial weeks, while he also fixed deadlines for completion of projects. He connected with residents by holding camps, though many councillors saw it as bypassing of elected representatives and headline-hogging.
He also faced flak for a massive drive conducted in a part of Sector 17 to remove wrongly-sized display boards, besides severe criticism over the “renovation” splurge on his official residence and office at the start of his term. He came directly under the Centre’s radar after going overboard during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city last year, as the administration shut down schools and put a cremation ground out of bounds for city residents in the name of security arrangements.
As for his cold equation with Solanki, this year on Republic Day Dev had to even cancel his ‘At Home’ for officers and dignitaries at the UT Guest House as Solanki did not want him to hold one besides the one at the Raj Bhawan.
Most recently, the UT faced a cut in budget and even failed to make it to the first list of 20 for the Smart City project, despite Dev and his team making much noise about it.
Ironically, Dev, an electrical engineer by qualification, had bragged about how a road had been named after him (‘Vijay Path’) for his good work as Daman and Diu deputy commissioner. His unceremonious exit from Chandigarh presents a complete contrast.
umar Dev was replaced as adviser to the UT administrator on Wednesday, by Parimal Rai, an IAS officer of the 1985 batch who was presently with the Delhi government.
The transfer orders say Dev has been shifted to the government of the National Capital Territory (Delhi). He was the Delhi chief election commissioner before coming to Chandigarh.
Dev, a 1987-batch officer, who is from the AGMUT cadre as Rai, faced ouster in an arguably unprecedented curtailing of his three-year tenure. He had joined only in December of 2014 and served barely 15 months of a term that was marked by a number of controversies and several moves that were seen sometimes as pro-active and sometimes as unduly aggressive.
His four prime officers — at least three of them known to be his coterie — had been issued transfer orders earlier this week in what was seen as a clipping of his feathers.