Though the Election Commission has partially relaxed the code of conduct in Himachal Pradesh, the state secretariat, which wore a deserted with chief minister Virbhadra Singh in Delhi on Tuesday, seems to be still in the poll mode.
Most of the bureaucrats were away on official tours or deployed on election duties, and only a few could be seen sitting in their offices.
Additional chief secretary (health) Vineet Chowdhry and the principal secretary (education) Ali Raza Rizvi were in Delhi, while principal secretary (finance) DR Shrikhant Baldi and principal secretary (forest) Tarun Shridhar were on a foreign jaunt in connection with green funding from the World Bank. Additional chief secretary (principal secretary to CM) VC Pharkha was accompanying the CM in Delhi.
“There is virtually no work. We are sitting idle and hoping that things will pick up pace after the Lok Sabha election results are declared on May 16,” a senior bureaucrat said.
Since little work was being done in the offices of senior and junior officials, they were busy speculating about the exit polls and discussing the parties’ prospects over a cup of tea in the canteen or their offices.
As most ministers were visiting their respective constituencies or away to other places, only three, including industries minister Mukesh Agnihotri, social justice minister Dhani Ram Shandil and forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri, were present at the secretariat on Tuesday. “We have worked hard in the elections.
The media and television news channels know better about the outcome,” Bharmouri told his supporters while walking into his office. The EC, in a letter to the state government, had conveyed that as polls were over in the state, the model code of conduct could be relaxed partially.
“After partial relaxation of the poll code, normal administrative work and development activities can be carried out,” chief electoral officer Narender Chauhan wrote.
However, the EC directed the government not to transfer any official engaged in poll duty till the election process was completed, and minister or other political functionaries could not hold any review meetings with election-related officials.