Are Top Posts in Himachal Reserved for CM loyalists?

Shimla: Septuagenarian Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh bestowing plum posts on two loyalists has drawn fire as this is being seen as a lack of confidence in the bureaucracy.

Subhash Ahluwalia has been appointed principal private secretary to the chief minister, the post he had occupied during Virbhadra Singh’s 2003-07 stint. Ahluwalia is also media advisor to the government.

T.C. Janartha, who was Virbhadra Singh’s private secretary during his 1993-1998 tenure, has been appointed officer-on-special duty (OSD) in the chief minister’s office.

Both are retired Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers.

Earlier, T.G. Negi, another retired IAS officer, was appointed the chief minister’s advisor.

Political observers say just a week after his coronation, the posts bestowed by Virbhadra Singh, who has over half a century in active politics, on his trusted loyalists and former legislators – Kuldeep Pathania, Harsh Mahajan, Ram Lal Thakur and Subhash Manglet – have already come under the Congreess high command’s scanner.

“Earlier, the high command conveyed to the chief minister not to appoint former legislators, especially those who recently faced defeat in the assembly polls,” a senior Congress leader told IANS.

He said this time he has appointed former IAS officers, which is principally wrong. “Moreover, it gives a message that you have no faith in the present lot of bureaucrats,” the leader, who did not wish to be identified, said.

Four-time legislator Pathania, who lost the assembly elections, has been made chairman of the Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board, while former forest minister Thakur has been given a cabinet rank with his appointment as chairman of the Himachal Pradesh State Planning Board.

Virbhadra Singh’s close aide and former minister Mahajan, who did not contest the polls, has been made chairman of the Himachal Pradesh State Cooperative Bank that has 195 branches.

Similarly, former legislator Manglet has been made the Himachal Agriculture and Marketing Board chairman.

All this has given much ammunition to the opposition BJP to fire salvos at the chief minister.

Firebrand BJP legislator Randhir Sharma, while participating in discussion on the state budget for 2013-14 in the assembly March 19, said the government is being run by retired officers.

Sharma said: “This is a government of retirees. The chief minister’s private secretary is a retired officer. His advisor is a retired IAS officer. The chief minister’s OSD is also a retired officer. In the secretariat, the government is being run by these retired officers.”

“Politicians who have been rejected by the people in electoral politics are being given authority to inaugurate government functions,” he added.

“The government should not compromise with the respect that an elected representative deserves in the constituency,” Sharma added, without naming his arch rival former forest minister Thakur, who has been given a cabinet rank in the government.

– IANS

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3 Comments

  • Before the appointments , the Chief Minister had in his knowledge that there will be criticism post appointments made in the State Government on key posts. This has given a chance to the main opposition B.J.P. to criticize the Government. However, who is the senior congress leader who has made objections in the press and had asked the New Paper Reporter that he should not be identified, should have restrained in issuing such a statement in public as the Government at present is being run by Sh. Vir Bhadra Singh , as the Chief Minister, of the State who has full confidence of the All India Congress Committee President Smt. Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Vir Bhadra Singh is the only Senior Congress Leader in the State on whose un-tired efforts the Congress party has won 36 seats and form the Congress government. The Chief Minister, Mr. Vir Bhadra Singh should be given free hand to run Government in the State . The Senior Congress leader who has uttered these words might be correct but he should not go in public media which is tarnishing the image of the Govt. The party should identify such a senior congress leader and advise him to not indulge in such a manner

  • If this is the only point then MP rajyasabha’s and even rajayasabhaa is invalid b’coz there are too nominated ppl and representing country

  • isn’t this always the case? CM would definitely like to have his trustworthy people around him ….

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