Hyderabad: It is often said that the bureaucracy can make or mar a politician. Looks like AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu — who is on the warpath with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA — is learning it the hard way.
Even as Mr Naidu is going all guns blazing at the Election Commission of India, especially with respect to the transfer of many of his officials, it now turns out that one of his trusted babus had put the blame squarely on Mr Naidu for defying the EC’s order transferring three police officers including DG, Intelligence, A.B. Venkateswara Rao and issuing a government order nullifying the EC’s orders.
What has raised many an eyebrow in the bureaucratic circles is the fact that this particular official, before meeting EC officials, reportedly had hush-hush meetings with a top leader holding a Constitutional post, a powerful Union minister besides a well-known poll strategist — both of whom are sworn enemies of Chandrababu Naidu. A well-known BJP leader from Andhra Pradesh accompanied him to Delhi.
To make matters worse, the Chief Minister is understood to have learnt about these developments, including the meetings, a couple of days ago and is said to be “very disturbed” over the goings-on. He was informed about some of his bureaucrats trying to meet the family members of YSRC president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, including the one who blamed him before the EC.
Sources told this newspaper that when the officer in question was asked by the EC officials why its orders with respect to the transfer of three officials were defied, the officer replied that all instructions had come from the Chief Minister himself. “''It was the Chief Minister who gave us the instructions and we had no choice but to follow them,” the official remarked, while narrating the sequence of events before the EC.
The officer claimed before the EC that a team of bureaucrats advised Mr Naidu not to defy the EC's orders, but he insisted that it be challenged in the High Court and continue with Mr Venkateswara Rao as DG, Intelligence, till the court order. The High Court refused to stay the EC's orders.
Surprisingly, when the officer returned from Delhi, he told the Chief Minister, in the presence of at least two bureaucrats, that he “fought the EC tooth and nail” and bravely put forth the state government’s view before the EC.
Mr Naidu, who is in Delhi, is primarily taking on the EC in support of his bureaucrats alleging that the EC was transferring them at the behest of the Centre. Along with Mr Venkateswara Rao, the EC had transferred superintendents of police Rahul Dev Sharma and A. Venkat Ratnam. It later transferred Chief Secretary A.C. Punetha and another SP, Mr Koya Praveen.
Keep yourself updated on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 with our round-the-clock coverage -- breaking news, updates, analyses et all. Happy reading....