Devendra Fadnavis plans bureaucratic rejig ahead of 2019 election

Sources close to Fadnavis said he will use this opportunity to choose administrative officers of his choice, who will play a significant role in the 2019 elections.

mumbai Updated: Dec 26, 2017 16:43 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,devendra fadnavis,bureaucratic reshuffle
Significantly, this reshuffle is likely to coincide with the cabinet reshuffle, which is expected to be taken up by Fadnavis soon. (HT File Photo)

With eighteen months of his term still left, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to reshuffle the state’s bureaucracy. With news that chief secretary Sumit Mullick is likely to take over as state chief information commissioner (SCIC) early next month, Fadnavis will get a chance to rejig top bureaucrats and appoint new administrative heads for key departments, the city’s civic body and the government’s infrastructure agencies such as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Corporation (MMRDA) and City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco).

Sources close to the chief minister said he will use this opportunity to choose administrative officers of his choice, who will be expected to play a significant role in delivering his promises ahead of the elections in 2019. Significantly, this reshuffle is likely to coincide with the cabinet reshuffle, which is expected to be taken up by Fadnavis soon.

If the state Assembly elections are held with the Lok Sabha elections — the ruling party is planning for this — the state government has less than 18 months to complete its ongoing projects and plans. The government has aimed at commissioning at least one of the three under-construction Metro lines in Mumbai. It wants construction of the Navi Mumbai airport, the Shivaji memorial in the Arabian sea, the coastal road and the CM’s pet project, the Mumbai-Nagpur expressway, to begin in the next few months. Fadnavis wants to improve the BJP’s position in Mumbai, which sends 36 MLAs to the 288-member Assembly.

Additional chief secretary (finance) Dinesh Kumar Jain is the frontrunner for Mullick’s post. Sources close to Fadnavis said he would prefer new secretaries to head key departments, including urban development and finance as well as in the chief minister’s office (CMO). The current MMRDA chief UPS Madan and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Ajoy Mehta, Cidco chief Bhushan Gagrani and principal secretary (finance) RA Rajeev are in the list of probables for the key jobs. Praveen Pardeshi, currently additional chief secretary in CMO, principal secretary (urban development) Nitin Kareer, principal secretary (revenue) Manu Kumar Srivastava and Rajeev are being considered for the top posts at BMC and MMRDA.

The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), which has not had an independent head after Radheshyam Mopalwar, who was sent on compulsory leave in August, is likely to get a new boss. The corporation is significant for Fadnavis as it is nodal agency for the Mumbai-Nagpur expressway project.

“With the Assembly elections are likely to be held along with the Lok Sabha polls in May 2019, we have got hardly one-and-a-half years to perform. Just like cabinet reshuffle, even the bureaucratic appointments are important in the last leg of our five-year tenure. We are already facing the farmer distress in rural areas and expect the unrest to decrease once the money of the loan waiver get credited to the accounts of the farmers. In urban areas, the completion of big-ticket infrastructure projects holds the key in getting the support of the people. The reshuffle in the bureaucracy, which may prove to be last the overhaul by our government, will aim to achieve these goals,” said a senior BJP minister on the condition of anonymity.

First Published: Dec 26, 2017 16:43 IST