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Regime change in Odisha keeps bureaucrats on the tenterhooks amid flurry of resignations

The IAS officers R Balakrishnan and Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, who enjoyed unbridled power in important posts in the Naveen Patnaik government resigned after BJD lost the polls.

Regime change in Odisha keeps bureaucrats on the tenterhooks amid flurry of resignations

Former Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik (File Photo: ANI)

With the 24-year-old BJD government voted out of power, the Odisha regime change has begun giving jitters to a select group of loyal bureaucrats, who allegedly broke rules with impunity to the dictates of the outgoing government.

The repercussion of change in government has already caused a ripple effect with three retired bureaucrats, who were posted in key positions reportedly for their loyalty to the ruling dispensation resigning from their posts.

The IAS officers R Balakrishnan and Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, who enjoyed unbridled power in important posts in the Naveen Patnaik government resigned after BJD lost the polls.

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Manoj Kumar Mishra, Principal Secretary to Electronics and IT Department, was the next to tender resignation from his post after election results were out.

Further laying bare the anxiety in the bureaucrat circles, Sujata Karthikeyan, senior IAS officer and wife of controversial Biju Janata Dal leader V. K. Pandian, has gone on six month leave.

The Election Commission of India had earlier transferred Karthikeyan from the post of secretary to the department of Mission Shakti to non-public dealing department during elections after she was accused of misusing public office.

During the polls, the ECI had suspended senior IPS officer DS Kuttey working in the outgoing Odisha chief minister’s office for unduly interfering in conduct of election.

Anxiety in the power corridors is being felt and a change of government after more than two decades is keeping the IAS and IPS officers on the tenterhooks.

Future is tense for the officers in the outgoing Chief Minister’s Office (CMO). The CMO that comprised 14 officers had turned into a rehabilitation centre for retired officers with six of them being retired government servants.

This apart, regime change has sent jitters to several bureaucrats who held on to key posts because of proximity to CMO. Despite controversies shrouding over their style of functioning, the tainted bureaucrats were saved from the axe because of their right connections at the right place.

It remains to be seen whether the new BJP government promotes coterie and extends patronage to corrupt officers.

The bureaucrats and politicians who squandered funds from the State exchequer ought to be taken to task to instill confidence in people’s mind that the new regime is transparent and is intent to weed out corruption. Symbolic coercive action is on the cards and heads will roll n the coming days, according to analysts.

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