Vasundhara Raje, second term Chief Minister of Rajasthan, known for her strong grip on bureaucracy is now showing sign of slowing down and showing sign of losing her grip. With a third grade organizational set up of BJP in Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje is overtly depending on the personal staff and bureaucrats to run the show while governance in the state has become an act of day to day fire-fighting.
Recent major reshuffle in bureaucracy in Rajasthan shows that Vasundhara Raje has lost her sheen, she was known for. The reshuffle seems more a result of tussle between various interest groups among bureaucrats then being a sound administrative decision.
OP Meena has been appointed as new Chief Secretary of the state. But one senior IAS sitting in Delhi power corridors still calling the shots in Jaipur and CS Rajan who had just retired after two extensions is still very much alive and kicking in decision making circles of secretariat building in Jaipur which was once horse stables for the Man Guards of Royal Jaipur. Queen’s stable seems to be full of Arabian horses instead of Marwaris- who are better adapted to survive the heat in Thar Desert. In all, Rajasthan now has one supreme CS, one super CS and one mere CS.
The appointment of OP Meena is being touted as Vasundhara Raje’s effort to mollify Meena community which decides the fate of more than 30 assembly seats in eastern Rajasthan. But this ‘innovative’ political maneuvering may dearly cost Gurjar votes to BJP who have been loyally supporting the party through thick and thin.
Meena community, historically, never had any strong leadership in BJP except for Dr Kirori Lal Meena, who have been in doldrums after he failed to materilise his plan of becoming a king-maker in 2013. One the other hand Gurjars have now discovered new hope in Congress as Sachin Pilot is leading the party in state and he is known for his strong caste affiliation.
However, as Vasudhara Raje has multiple bureaucrats in advisory role, the new chief secretary anyways need not be much worried about framing policies; but taking orders from the caucus near the Chief Minister Raje.
Front runner for the post Ashok Jain again proved to be a somber failure in-spite of tactical support from an influential media group. On the other hand, history of NC Goyal proved costly to change his geographical positon from Khanij Bhawan to CS office. Goyal has also been stripped of portfolio of DMIC which is been given to Ashok Jain as consolation prize. In midst of all this humdrum, DB Gupta is silently scaling heights in bureaucratic ladder.
Fact is that in the saga of appointing new Chief Secretary, OP Meena may have gained a seat to retire at the top but Vasundhara Raje has lost her sheen for the skill she has mastered long ago. It is her disinterest or sign of slowing down, only time will tell.
Other bureaucrats who have been shuffled also do not bring any hope for improvement in governance in Rajasthan. With power concentrated in few hands and corruption charges flying thick and fast on bureaucracy, governance in Rajasthan at its biggest loss while ‘Queen’ enjoys manicure in her ivory tower.
Only glitter amidst dark cloud of corruption capsuling Rajashan was the team of able IPS officers in Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). It will now be headed by an ineffective Alok Tripath, ADG who had once been slapped by a congress MLA Babu Lal Singaria for non-performance while serving as SP in Ajmer.
Dinesh MN, the blue eyed boy of masses Rajasthan, is now been shunted out from ACB to man Special Operation Group (SoG). The word of caution in government offices in Jaipur that ‘Rishwat mat lo nahi to Dinesh MN aa jayega’ will now slowly wean away into oblivion. The reshuffle on its face is a routine transfer but its nitty-gritties and behind the scene politics is raising many questions.
The biggest questions being ‘Has the Queen lost it?’