Gehlot carries out major IAS reshuffle before budget

Jaipur: In a major administrative reshuffle on Sunday afternoon, just as the state geared for the annual budget session of the state assembly due to begin this morning, a decisive Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot shifted thirty IAS officials, a day when the bureaucrats relax away from their offices. Knowledgeable sources indicate that the list has a clear imprint of DB Gupta and Kuldeep Ranka, where most of the homework and feedback to the Chief Minister was done by Ranka in his capacity as Principal Secretary to Chief Minister. Notably, the reshuffle has further strengthened Ranka’s positioning within the ‘power equations’ of CMO.

The biggest development has been the shifting of IAS Ajitabh Sharma to the energy department as its Principal Secretary while also giving him the charge of chairman, discoms. Sharma was till now posted as the Principal Secretary to CM. Moreover, in addition to holding the aforementioned positions, Sharma will also hold the position of chairman of Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation. His new posting also signals his proximity with the Chief Minister.

Shifting of registrar cooperatives and DIPR commissioner, a dynamic and result oriented IAS Neeraj K Pawan has surprised everyone. Neeraj, who also played the role of a trouble shooter in dealing with Gurjar agitation, has been shifted to the post of Secretary, Labor department; while in Neeraj’s place, a Gehlot favourite Mahendra Soni has been brought as commissioner DIPR from his previous posting as Jalore Collector. Soni has served in the CMO under Gehlot from 2008-2011 as deputy secretary to CM. From Pg 1 Meanwhile, Jhunjhunu Collector Ravi Jain, a competent officer who had done a good job as Jaipur collector also during Raje rule, has been brought to Jaipur as Secretary and Commissioner Transport department in place of Rajesh Kumar Yadav, who has been shunted to Principal Secretary PHED. Yadav enjoys the reputation and goodwill of a good officer and he has been given an important charge of PHED department but there were also reportedly some complaints, made to the Transport minister and the chief minister about his style of functioning.

Moreover, Praveen Gupta, who was given a sidelined job at Ajmer as member of Revenue Board, has been brought back to Jaipur and posted in departmental inquiries as its Commissioner. Interestingly, after waiting for over forty days, one more competent officer Sudhansh Pant has finally been given a posting as he will now take the charge of Principal Secretary, Forest and Environment.

Additionally the Collectors of Dungarpur, Jalore, Jhunjhunu and Bundi districts have also been shuffled. According to an analysis, most of the postings have been done on merit and seniority basis and it clearly reflects Gehlot’s good governance mood.

It is also being speculated that five senior officers -Sandeep Verma, Rajesh Yadav, Dinesh Kumar, Sreya Guha and KB Pandya – have been shifted on the ‘request’ of concerned ministers to CM. Meanwhile, in a late night development, the state government shuffled seven more IAS officials and thirty-six IPS officials.