Atiq Khan

LUCKNOW:Shambhu Nath assumed office as the new Chief Secretary of the election-bound Uttar Pradesh on Friday. He said he would see that the Assembly elections were held in a free and fair manner. Earlier in the day, the Election Commission removed Naveen Chandra Bajpai as Chief Secretary following complaints from Opposition parties that he was acting as a "loyal worker" of the ruling Samajwadi Party.

Like the other officials transferred on March 14, Mr. Bajpai was also handpicked by Chief Minister Mulayam Singh. He superseded over a dozen bureaucrats of the 1972, 1971 and 1970 batches, Mr. Nath being one of them.

A 1970 batch IAS officer, Mr. Nath is due to retire on March 31. There is no mention of his tenure in the appointment letter. When contacted, Umesh Sinha, Secretary, Appointment, said the EC would fix Mr. Nath's term of office later. Mr. Nath, who earlier served as Principal Secretary to the Governor, told newspersons that he was not unduly perturbed at the question of his tenure.

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