Centre Denied Tenure Extension Of Ashok Gehlot’s Chosen Chief Secretary, He Appoints Babu Who Supersedes Seniors For The Top Post
Niranjan Kumar Arya, who supersedes several officials, has been appointed by Gehlot as the new Chief Secretary, after the Chief Minister was denied the chance by the Centre to extend the tenure of the now outgoing chief secretary.
On 1 November, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot appointed Niranjan Kumar Arya as new Chief Secretary of Rajasthan. There were seniors hoping to get the post that Arya, a 1989 batch officer, has been appointed to.
Arya comes from the Scheduled Caste (SC) community, and a section of the media says that this move by the Congress Chief Minister could be aimed at consolidating the party's Dalit vote bank.
He has served as additional chief secretary (finance) in Gehlot's presence as the chief minister since December 2018. In the power circles, he is said to enjoy Gehlot's trust.
He has risen to the post superseding several officers. Four officers among them are on deputation with the Centre and others are serving Rajasthan — now transferred to the different boards, corporations and commissions in a major reshuffle.
Sections of media have hinted at a confrontation between the Centre and state, and that Arya wasn't Gehlot's "first choice" for the post.
Reportedly, the outgoing chief secretary Rajeeva Swarup — a 1985 batch officer was to retire on 31 October.
It is said that to appoint Swarup to the state’s top post, the chief minister reportedly “struck a deal” with the previous chief secretary D.B. Gupta who was slated to retire in September. Under this supposed deal, Mr Gupta resigned in July and was immediately appointed advisor to the CM for a year and Mr Swarup stepped in as his successor.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Gehlot had asked for a three-month extension for Swarup, saying that he was required in the handling of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in Rajasthan.
Some say Gehlot wanted to give Swarup, scheduled to superannuate a month after Gupta, enough time to perform. But it is also claimed that he was rewarded because he had alerted Gehlot about a potential coup by Sachin Pilot, which was initially planned for June ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections.
Gehlot tried to push the extension of tenure of Swarup, but it did not work. The denial from the Centre came and Gehlot then turned to Arya, and a reshuffle of senior babus ensued in the state.
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