Why Alapan Bandyopadhyay matters to Mamata

After taking on as chief minister for a 3rd time on May 5, one of many first issues chief minister Mamata Banerjee did was to search extension for her chief secretary, Alapan Bandyopadhyay, who was scheduled to retire on May 31. The 1987 batch IAS officer was key to the sleek execution of a few of the welfare initiatives of the federal government, which helped in creating an enormous pool of beneficiaries and, subsequently, supporters.

The overwhelming ballot mandate in favour of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) will be attributed to the dole politics growth mannequin Mamata rolled out for the 100 million folks of her state. And this was largely doable as a result of Mamata might interact the paperwork in monitoring the distribution and supply mechanism and slicing out political interference and nepotism. The administration succeeded in its door-step supply of presidency schemes—together with the medical health insurance card–in the final three months of the second time period solely as a result of Bandyopadhyay led the way in which as chief secretary.

Though a few of the initiatives had been the brainchild of ballot strategist Prashant Kishor, it was Alapan’s conscientiousness and management that noticed them via. In her third time period, Mamata is planning many extra welfare schemes like rations on the doorstep, a Rs 500 month-to-month allowance for home-makers and a Rs 10 lakh bank card for college kids pursuing larger research, so she will unwell afford to let Bandyopadhyay go. Which is why she sought the extension for him. The Centre granted it in view of the present Covid scenario and different components like Cyclone Yaas.

Apart from being a meticulous taskmaster, Bandyopadhyay is understood to be a easy talker, a wonderful negotiator and an always-at-your-service-boss form of individual. It’s fairly related to say he was all the time a blue-eyed-boy with the totally different chief ministers he served. As district Justice of the Peace of South 24 Parganas district and later as info and tradition secretary, he was Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s (the CPI(M) chief minister from 2001 to 2011) favorite officer. It took no time for him to win Mamata’s confidence after the change within the political regime. He has since helped Mamata many-a-time, particularly as interim state election commissioner (SEC) in 2015 when then SEC S.R.Upadhyay resigned, allegedly below strain from the TMC after he withheld the civic physique ballot outcomes citing rampant rigging and violence by the social gathering in energy. Bandyopadhyay took over, made positive the outcomes had been introduced on time and that the allegations had been brushed below the carpet.

“He has a genteel disposition and a knack for doing things quietly and efficiently. The letters drafted by him are a reflection of the kind of person he is–diplomatic and politically correct,” says a bureaucrat who didn’t need to be quoted.

In the lengthy, drawn-out letter battle between governor Jagdeep Dhankar and Mamata, it’s rumoured that Bandyopadhyay scripted the rebuttals of the chief minister, which regularly bumped into 4-5 pages of the choicest expressions and citing of constitutional provisions.

Dhankar, in one among his deliberations, additionally took be aware of Bandyopadhyay’s experience as a draftsman. In reality, Banerjee’s five-page attraction to the prime minister to withdraw his recall from central deputation was additionally allegedly drafted by Bandyopadhyay. It had the right combination of emotion, rationale, stoking of Bengali regional pleasure and all that may ruffle the conscience of the provincial folks.

This aside, he’s recognized for resolving most of the points that had vexed the administration. The bottlenecks over the east-west and north-south enlargement of the Metro (from Garia to Dakshineswar) had been ironed out when Bandyopadhyay was transport secretary.

When allegations of corruption over the distribution of reduction for Amphan cyclone victims got here out within the open, Mamata Banerjee discovered it troublesome to rein in her partymen. It was Bandyopadhyay’s thought then to open a brand new window and permit real victims a second likelihood to apply for reduction. While this was seen as an try by the federal government to undo its earlier wrongs, it did assist mend its governance picture. In reality, involving the executive officers in supply of presidency schemes was the previous chief secretary’s thought, which has helped mitigate the complaints of corruption to some extent.

Issuing the Swasthyasathi card within the title of the matriarch of the household was additionally his thought. In reality, Mamata was planning to prolong reduction to the victims of Cyclone Yaas via the doorstep supply (Duare Traan) scheme when the Centre-state fiasco occurred over Bandyopadhyay.

It’s shocking then why an individual who’s such a stickler for the rule e-book selected to ignore it in the previous couple of days of his tenure. It’s not that he wasn’t conscious that there can be a worth to pay for skipping the PM’s overview assembly, and in addition for not receiving and seeing off the PM as per protocol. True Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived on the venue, Kalaikunda airbase, means forward of schedule, however that can not be an excuse for the chief secretary to not be current to obtain him.

As if arriving late and never seeing off the PM weren’t sufficient, Mamata and he later gate-crashed the assembly, handed over a report and left on the pretext of a pre-scheduled assembly. There was no finish to the violations of protocol and repair guidelines conduct.

The phrase is that Bandyopadhyay agreed to do Mamata’s bidding as a result of he is indebted to the chief minister for a lot of issues and the latter too holds him in absolute belief. The Centre has slapped a show-cause discover in opposition to him for violation of the Disaster Management Act however Mamata has already compensated him handsomely: she has reinstated Bandyopadhyay as chief advisor with a hefty bundle and has assured him that the state will proceed preventing with the Centre on the difficulty. The West Bengal authorities can also be bearing the bills of preventing the authorized battle.

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