Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Monday Mirchi : Beautiful pictures go missing

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Anything posted on social media platforms by officials; regardless of how soon it is deleted and for what reason, leaves its traces with predictable consequences.This is true even in the case of snaps capturing purely social moments.Can there be anything sadder than beautiful pictures being deleted? TS women IAS officers met during Diwali and took some delightful pictures together. Along with the ladies, the Chief Secretary and the CM Secretary were clicked. They enjoyed a sumptuous meal amid banter and light-hearted conversations. The ambience was replete with joy and laughter, with the officials letting their hair down. Naturally, the camaraderie shared by the members of the group oozed through some of the snaps. A few of these pictures were shared by Smita Sabharwal on Twitter. The snaps were indeed a treat to watch. The pictures were deleted for reasons unknown. The only solace netizens have is that when something is put on the internet it cannot be wiped out completely. The traces remain willy-nilly.

Vikas Raj to face the music?

It is one thing to conduct the General Election in the normal course and quite another to monitor a fiercely contested by-election in which the main political parties are baying for one another’s scalp.

Amidst the fast-changing dynamics of the Munugode bypoll, it appears that political parties are taking turns to pounce upon Chief Electoral Officer Vikas Raj. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti, though initially happy with this former CM secretary, is now sore. A little bird told us that the delayed response of the CEO in certain instances has irked the party leadership.

A case in point is the Election Commission’s order on Saturday barring Energy Minister G Jagadish Reddy from campaigning in the Munugode Assembly constituency for 48 hours for having violated the poll code. TRS chief and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao himself expressed his regret that over the past 20 years he had never held a meeting without Jagadish Reddy. The present intervention of ECI has agitated party circles, due to which Vikas Raj may have to face the music. Bureaucratic circles are now worried whether this is how the next Assembly elections would be held, with the CEO being a sitting duck for triggering controversies.

Reshuffle on cards in AP

Occasional transfer of babus from one or two departments that have been inactive or comatose may not raise eyebrows. But when major departments are in for overhauling, there is bound to be animated discussions in official circles, especially at the top level. Andhra Pradesh is likely to witness a major reshuffle of bureaucrats.The Health Department especially has not been able to get the right hand, or head for that matter, so far. In the impending reshuffle, the department would hopefully get a leader who can bring vitality to the key department. A little bird told us that Health, Roads & Buildings, Panchayati Raj and certain other major departments are likely to witness replacement of HODs.

Department policed, IPS officers mum

When it comes to crime scene in a state and the reportage relating to it, a lot depends on healthy interactions between media persons and senior police officials. That is, the better the communication between them, the truer the picture relating to crime. However, when the entire police department appears to be policed by the brass, crime reporting leaves much to be desired. Gone are the days when IPS officers were presumed to be media-friendly. Things seem to have changed: for the better, from the standpoint of the department, and for worse, from scribes’ viewpoint.

These days many officials are shying away from talking to the media, while a few are blaming the situation on their superiors reaching up to the topmost level. A little bird told us that the stock answer to a newshound’s query is: "Get CP’s permission; only then we will talk".The media always senses a gag order, vehement official denials notwithstanding. The only difference is currently IPS officers find themselves in a position similar to that of IAS officers. Bureaucratic circles are agog with discussions on the pros and cons of the media gag.
City-based IPS officers, for reasons best known to them and their Commissioners, are avoiding the media glare.

Babus miss foreign junkets

Few babus can resist the allure of foreign junkets that are a part and parcel of their career progression, public expenses apart. Unlike Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who does not shy away from going on foreign trips frequently, the Chief Ministers of Telugu states have not undertaken foreign trips even on par with some of their predecessors. So, top IAS officers in Telugu states are missing foreign visits. A little bird told us that some bureaucrats are keen on visiting foreign countries since such trips give them the much-needed ‘kick’. After the Telangana Rashtra Samiti came to power in Telangana and the YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh, there have been no major foreign visits by the Chief Ministers or Ministers.

During the Chandrababu regime in AP, several bureaucrats have visited many countries along with the Chief Minister and Ministers. As Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu used to visit several counties on study tours or for attracting foreign investments, along with a team of bureaucrats. At one point of time, Singapore had become almost AP’s second capital to ministers in the erstwhile TDP government. Babus are feeling that the CMs of Telugu states have become ‘pucca locals’.

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