Who forms the govt. at the Centre may have an impact on who the next Chief Secretary of the State is

So the buzz now is whether government formation at the Centre will have any impact on who the next Chief Secretary of the State will be.

With the election Code of Conduct kicking in, after the chief electoral officer declared the schedule for the General elections 2014, rumour mills that were frantically whirring, speculating who would be the next Chief Secretary, have died down — at least for the moment.

Since the election date has been announced, current Chief Secretary Sheela Balakrishnan will have to continue in her post up until the election process is complete. Senior officers in the government say this means the post is filled till May-end.

The State will have to bother with finding a new Chief Secretary only in June, they add. Some officers think who the next chief secretary is may depend on who forms the government at the Centre. That’s not quite the chaos theory’; after all, these things are indeed connected, and the possibility of this happening is not at all remote, they point out.

At a time when politicians from different parties have started campaigning or are involved in the process of finalising candidates, there is one politician who is watching all the developments from behind the scenes.

M.K. Alagiri, the suspended DMK leader and son of party president M. Karunanidhi, is now preoccupied with meeting his ‘friends’ in other parties and elders in the DMK party.

As the news spread that Mr. Alagiri was back in Madurai, scores of his supporters lined up at the airport on Saturday. When he reached his residence, many cadres, waiting to have a glimpse of him, raised slogans, hailing him as the saviour of the DMK.

After brief talks with a few cadres there, he gave audience to Congress MP Haroon, from Periakulam. When he stepped out, Mr. Haroon told reporters “it was Mr. Alagiri who was responsible for my victory in the last Lok Sabha elections. This time too, I felt like seeking his support.”

But reporters were intrigued as Pon Muthuramalingam, a party veteran, is the DMK candidate contesting from the Theni constituency. If Mr. Alagiri will act or remain silent is a big question.

The people of the State in general and those of Tiruchi district, in particular, will not so easily forget the seizure of a whopping Rs. 5.1 crore from atop a private bus parked in Ponnagar in Tiruchi city in the run-up to the elections in April 2011.

S. Sangeetha, the then revenue divisional officer and the returning officer of the Tiruchi West constituency, quickly acted upon a vital clue, and brought about the seizure. The stash is still considered to be the single largest seizure of cash in the State during the election period.

Ms. Sangeetha bagged two prestigious awards — the Election Commission of India’s national award for ‘Best Electoral Practices’, which she received from A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former president, at the National Voters’ Day celebrations at New Delhi, and the State government’s Kalpana Chawla award from Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, for displaying exemplary courage and daring enterprise in spearheading the seizure.

However, what is interesting is that no one has so far come forward to claim the seized cash that was later handed over to the income tax department. The origin of the cash is yet to be established.

By Ramya Kannan, L. Srikrishna and Syed Muthahar Saqaf

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