As Rajasthan cabinet works from hotel, politics of transfers goes on unabated – Hindustan Times

Bina Mahawar, a 2011 batch Rajasthan Administrative Service officer, was posted as additional district magistrate of Bharatpur on August 2 in the recent round of reshuffle of junior bureaucracy in the state, almost a year after she was shunted out of the district after a verbal duel with the then tourism minister and now rebel Congress MLA Vishvendra Singh during an official meeting.

Mahawar, who was district supply officer of Bharatpur Rural, was shunted to the Board of Revenue as deputy registrar after the showdown in July 2019.

Singh is among the rebel Congress legislators backing ousted deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, and political experts see Mahawar’s posting in Bharatpur again as a snub to him.

They said while the government posted her back in the district of her choice, another RAS officer, Praveen Kumar, who had been private secretary to Singh, is yet to get a posting.

In another politically significant posting, special assistant to former deputy chief minister, Aakash Tomar, was posted as additional commissioner of enforcement in the transport department on Sunday.

These are among the few officers transferred in the large-scale reshuffle of the state bureaucracy. According to orders issued by the state government, 379 officers have been transferred since the Rajya Sabha elections on June 19 when chief minister Ashok Gehlot had claimed for the first time that there was an attempt to topple his government by horse trading.

The list included 110 IAS, 66 IPS and 144 RAS officers, 128 of whom were transferred last week, apparently on requests of MLAs loyal to Gehlot.

Experts said transfer of junior bureaucracy, especially the RAS and RPS officer, has political meanings.

“These transfers are mostly done on request of legislators. The MLAs want officers of their choice in their constituencies. This is a normal practice,” said BJP leader and former minister Rohitash Sharma.

However, in the current political turmoil, Congress legislators, camping in a hotel in Jaisalmer, are having a field day as Gehlot is accepting all their requests for posting of officers, he added.

This is borne out by the fact that two major RAS transfers were carried out on July 31 and August 2.

Political expert Narayan Bareth said in principle, it is the duty of the chief minister to consider requests of his legislators because they choose him to be their leader.

“Ashok Gehlot is known for conceding to requests of legislators. Sometimes, it also goes against him but that’s the way he is. This time, maybe after the formation of the government he was busy striking political balance and couldn’t focus more on the requests for posting of officers,” he said.

Bareth said that at this time when there’s some danger to his government because of rebellion within the party, the CM may be more magnanimous in accepting requests of his MLAs.

Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma said transfer and posting of officers was a routine work of governance and it should not be linked to the political situation in the state. But she conceded that the Congress government valued requests of its legislators.

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