|Hemant Soren (left) and Sajal Chakraborty
Ranchi, June 25: Treading gingerly on a diplomatic landmine, chief minister Hemant Soren spoke to acting chief secretary (CS) Sajal Chakraborty and party MLAs Aquil Akhtar and Paulus Surin separately late last night to defuse the crisis arising out of a spat between the babu and the legislators.
Late last night, Hemant apparently advised Chakraborty to be pragmatic and deal with people’s representatives “respectfully”. Hemant also met Akhtar and Surin and assured them to “fix responsibility” for the spat in two days flat and added he would watch the CCTV camera footage. He also reportedly said the situation could have been averted had the MLAs not lost their cool.
Insiders say Akhtar and Surin don’t enjoy a good rapport with the chief minister, and the “two days” may be Hemant’s way of buying time.
The capital has been abuzz with speculation on if Chakraborty will lose his chair for offending JMM MLAs over a row related to the timing of a meeting scheduled at Project Building yesterday.
Yesterday, the acting CS asked the MLAs to get out when they barged into his chamber and shouted at him for having to wait for a meeting.
But though bureaucrats suffer if they rub politicians the wrong way, insiders say this case might turn out to be different. JMM sources ruled out any immediate sacking for the short-tempered bureaucrat.
Chakraborty, handpicked by Hemant for the job, might keep it after all.
Hemant, however, is in for a rough ride. In a state where governments fall like nine pins and bureaucrats run the show, MLAs are an insecure lot with egos that need constant pampering.
“The CM’s decision will be final but this man (acting CS) should be removed,” Surin told The Telegraph.
Akhtar visited Assembly Speaker and JMM leader Shashank Shekhar Bhokta this afternoon to ask if yesterday’s incident was tantamount to a breach of privilege. Though Bhokta confirmed Akhtar’s visit, he said: “I can’t comment until MLAs concerned move privilege motion against acting CS before the Assembly.”
An IAS lobby feels the man needs “disciplinary action” as he tends to go overboard while discharging his duty.
This isn’t the first time when a politician had a public spat with a bureaucrat. In 2011, then Congress MLA Chandra Shekhar Dubey fought with then CS A.K. Singh. The same year, RJD’s Godda MLA Sanjay Yadav slapped then Godda DDC Dilip Kumar Jha. Minister Yogendra Sao slapped NTPC deputy general manager R.K. Singh in 2010 and roughed up Barkagaon BDO Rajballabh Singh in 2011.