Chandigarh, August 4: There is lot of difference between Capt Amarinder Singh, erstwhile Patiala Royals, popularly addressed as Maharaja Sahib, coming to power this time in March, 2017 as compared to March 2002. The difference is the gradation of his Darbaris. The Darbaris who are feeling ignored and thus humiliated have started playing their favourite game of Intrigues but in the process, it is the Maharaja who is being harmed more than his all-powerful no-nonsense-man Suresh Kumar.
Amarinder had brought in his trusted man Suresh Kumar, as his Chief principal Secretary in the grade of the cabinet secretary at the centre by creating a new post for the retired bureaucrat who had been running his government efficiently during his earlier stint as principal secretary to chief minister. He would not let some of the powerful Darbaris at that time even enter his office. He is learnt to be taking the same precautions. Now these Darbaris have become rallying point for some disgruntled bureaucrat.
The immediate issue is the petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the appointment of Suresh Kumar as Chief Principal Secretary, an ex-cadre post. He did not attend office yesterday. However, he was today present at the cabinet meeting.
His appointment has been challenged on technical grounds which can be taken care of by re-issuing the appointment letter. However, at another level, what is all the more important is the attitude of Capt Amarinder Singh. He is learnt to have assured Suresh Kumar on every count but it is the taming of intriguing Darbaris that is now the basic issue. The intrigue is not from outside but from within the Darbar. Amarinder had accommodated some of his old loyalists this time too but with a clear understanding that they would have nothing more than official designation. There is total change in the governance structure this time in which such darbaris have no say and they are not even much visible.
Today’s cabinet meeting was in the secretariat where Suresh Kumar had about 20-minute talk with the Chief Minister. None raked up the issue in the cabinet. Such issues are taken up normally after the formal meeting is over and the bureaucrats come out.
Capt Aamrinder Singh this time had nothing to worry about at least within the party as almost all his senior colleagues this time are out. The first embarrassment that his government faced was when the sand mining auction scam surfaced as the man that came under the scanner was his confidante and Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh. He went out of his way to defend him.
Yet another minister who has even gone to the extent of giving the certificate of ‘weak government’ is Navjot Singh Sidhu. However, now he is confronted with yet another type of trouble as it is rooted in palace intrigues. He would have to make some hard choices.
Sidhu took up this issue in today’s cabinet meeting and got a straight reply from Capt Amarinder Singh who made it clear that he could go ahead with probe at his own level. In case some other department was involved, that department would conduct the inquiry. The matter ended there and then.
Capt Amarinder Singh has his own style but It is the chief minister and not the Maharaja who has to assert before it is too late as the only person who would be damaged in the process is he himself. A section of bureaucracy had resented the induction of Suresh Kumar in this capacity in private but the political class by and large is satisfied with his functioning. This has to be seen in the style of functioning of Capt Amarinder Singh that is characterised by inaccessibility.