Wednesday, September, 28,2022


Mumbai: Putting into practice the knowledge he imbibed when current Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis was at the helm of affairs in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday appointed close aides as personal secretaries to assist new ministers of his cabinet. Krushna Jadhav was deputed as the personal secretary to newly installed Public Health and Family Welfare Ministers Tanaji Sawant. Another rebel-Shiv Sena MLA turned minister in the Shinde-led government, Sanjay Rathod, the newly minted Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) minister has also been allotted another Shinde aide Jayram Pawar.

According to a person familiar with the development, “This is the same pattern that was introduced by Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Devendra Fadnavis, when he became the CM in 2014. He had similarly appointed personal secretaries to various BJP ministers in his cabinet, in order to effectively ensure realtime knowledge of the goings on in the departments of his BJP colleagues. Shinde has taken a leaf out of Fadnavis’ book of prudent governance, it would appear.” On the other hand, a senior BJP leader-- while not denying the striking similarity in the appointments of personal secretaries in the Shinde camp of MLAs-- added, “The fact remains that there is a huge difference in the BJP-supported government installed in Maharashtra today and the previous government, when Fadnavis served as CM. The essential difference is that Shinde has become Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s blue-eyed boy in the process.”

He added, “Effectively, this pattern has always been the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) policy to encourage and develop new political talent from within the organization. Back in the days, RSS full-timers (just like RSS pracharaks) were enjoined with the political system and made close associates of BJP MPs, MLAs. Subsequently, when BJP governments were formed, they were enjoined with the Chief Ministers’ Offices (CMOs) and given ministerial assignments.” The BJP leader cited the instance of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, whose personal secretary back when he was Chief Minister of Uttarakhand earlier, has ascended to the topmost seat of power in that state as CM. Another instance is that of Sumit R, a personal aide of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who bagged a MLA ticket in the 2019 state assemblies after tagging along with the then CM for five years, said the leader. Another example of personal aides turning politicians include the former Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse-Patil, who served as the personal aide to NCP chief Sharad Pawar, before taking the plunge into politics.

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