Hunt for titan: IAS Deepak Singhal comes with a samurai sword
Lucknow: The tug of war for the post of Uttar Pradesh chief secretary is on and the search for the contenders have narrowed down to two 1982-batches IAS officers Praveer Kumar and Deepak Singhal.
The Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, currently on a trip abroad, has made Praveer Kumar the acting chief secretary leaving open the race till he returns on July 4 but not before the state has been witness to some hard lobbying by the aspirants.
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The buzz in power circles suggests Praveer Kumar, also the Agriculture production Commissioner (APC) of UP, is the first choice of UP CM Akhilesh by virtue of having a clean image contrary to what his batch-mate Deepak Singhal possesses. Though, Anil Gupta, a 1979-batch IAS is also a aspirant but he his posting as the Chairman, Board of Revenue has seemed to be a T-junction for him.
Principal Secretary, Irrigation Deepak Singhal, considered close to his departmental minister, is leaving no stone unturned and the officialdom is rather surprised at his ‘confidence’ as some officers put it as ‘arrogance’. His recent demeanour at an official function has been noticed by many when he was seen trying to flaunt his bonding with the CM.
At a recent function at CM’s official residence , he surprised everyone when in reply to a query about absence of his departmental minister Shivpal Singh Yadav, he said , ‘’What is the big deal if departmental minister is not here when the Chief Minister and I am here’’? This was significant in view of the apparent loss of bonhomie between CM and his uncle Shivpal though it had been denied on several occasions.
Insiders also say that Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Amar Singh was in the state capital for two days to lobby for Singhal but he failed to convince the Chief Minister.
It may be recalled that Singhal was figured in the controversial tapes.
Praveer Singh, a 1978 batch IAS officer is presently the officiating Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh and the decision to appoint the incumbent will be taken once CM Akhilesh Yadav returns from London. There are a couple of 1983-batch officers also in the reckoning but for this many officers will have to be supreceded.
It may be recalled that the post of Chief Secretary had fallen vacant on June 30 after Alok Ranjan retired. He is now serving as an adviser to the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.