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Patna Diary

Meeting spoils babu’s weekend plans

Chief minister Nitish Kumar asked his officials to ensure that every senior IAS officer of the state was present in the investors’ advisory council meet on Saturday after learning that senior bureaucrats were grumbling over chief secretary A.K. Sinha’s letter giving schedule of a series of review meetings.

Weekend plan of several officers went for a toss and they were seen attending the meeting with a long face. “The chief minister felt that the chief secretary had only asked the officers to do their job properly. Sinha did nothing wrong by asking the senior officers to attend meetings personally,” said an employee in the CM’s secretariat. “Officers, in general, want to work the way they did during the Lalu-Rabri era. Nobody bothered to hold review meetings then and everybody forgot about the proposals moved to the top bureaucrats,” he added.

Role model

Quite a few of the chief minister’s favourite bureaucrats, including Afzal Amanullah, Deepak Kumar and Ravi Kant, are Delhi bound as they all have been empanelled for central deputation. Nitish Kumar’s another favourite officer, C.K. Mishra, left for central deputation earlier this year. “They are the blue-eyed boys of the Bihar chief minister and are often given charge of more than three departments. One would have thought that they would stay on,” said a senior IAS officer. There is a lot of grumbling about IAS officers being “overstressed” during the Nitish regime and seeking transfer. “But the fact is all of them have to look after their career and Delhi is the place for them. Getting the post of secretary of a Union government ministry means they can take a shot at the governor’s post when they retire. Right now, their idol seems to be the Union home secretary Raj Kumar Singh, another Bihar cadre IAS officer,” said the senior bureaucrat.

U-turn mystery

The only political leader from the state to strongly support the foreign direct investment in retail is RJD chief Lalu Prasad. In sharp contrast to the stand of chief minister Nitish Kumar, he insisted that it would be beneficial to farmers. The JD(U) leaders appear amused over Lalu’s U-turn. “In the 1990s, Lalu vehemently opposed the World Trade Organisation and took jibes at economic reforms. He used to say if foreigner investors were allowed to invest in India, the farmers would have to rely on multinational companies even for seeds. He even organised rallies against the entrance of multinational companies. ow he is supporting he move,” said a JD(U) MP, stressing that Lalu’s U-turn had more to do with his wish for the abinet berth than farmers’ benefit.

Relationship riddle

Ram Vilas Paswan’s recent statement that chief minister Nitish Kumar was involved in the fodder scam with Lalu Prasad sparked debate in political circles on the present status of relationship between the heads of the RJD and the LJP. The relationship between Lalu and Paswan has fluctuated in the past from hot to cold. “One wonders if the cold phase in coming again,” said a senior politician. Stressing that the mention of the RJD chief's name in the statement was uncalled for from a political ally, an RJD MLA said: “Paswan should not have said that Lalu and Nitish were involved in the fodder scam.”