Row over new Cabinet rank to Jiji Thomson

Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan said the decision should be scrapped immediately.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The cabinet decision to appoint chief secretary Jiji Thomson, who is retiring on Tuesday, as advisor to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has raised several eyebrows.

Mr Jiji Thomson has been given cabinet rank. Former home secretary L. Radhakrishnan, who is the incumbent advisor to the chief minister, was not given cabinet rank. The decision comes close on the heels of the government's failed move to grant Mr Thomson three months’ extension.

But Mr Thomson’s tenure would end abruptly should there be a change of government after the Assembly polls. Meanwhile, the decision has come in for sharp criticism from the Opposition.

Opposition Leader V. S. Achuthanandan said the decision should be scrapped immediately. “Mr Chandy’s decision to grant plum position just hours before his retirement amounted to challenging the people of the state. Chandy is doing things one after the other like a prodigal son,” he said.

He claimed that heated arguments had taken place between the home minister and chief secretary over the question of promoting IAS and IPS officers. To satisfy the two sides, promotions were given without complying with the set guidelines and norms, he said.

“At a time when the state is passing through a financial crisis, the chief minister is rewarding those who stood with him for all his wrong actions. His decisions have put additional burden on the state exchequer which is highly deplorable,” he said.

Mr Achuthanandan said that with only a couple of days left for the election announcement, the government had no right to take policy decisions or implement new schemes.

“Under these circumstances, what is Jiji Thomson going to advise the chief minister?” he asked. “The maximum the official can do is to advise Chandy on how to save himself from the wrongdoings committed during his five-year tenure. Is it perhaps because of this ulterior motive that cabinet rank has been given to him?” he asked.

Mr Achuthanandan said that when the move to grant three months’ extension to Mr Jiji Thomson failed, the chief minister came up with the new post. “Only to satisfy people close to him, Chandy has increased the number of additional chief secretaries and DGPs. This decision has lowered the prestige of these posts,” he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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