LUCKNOW: A day after the Central government cleared the premature repatriation of 1981-batch IAS officer Rajeev Kumar-1, speculation surfaced on Wednesday that he might take over as the new chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh.
One of the senior-most officers of the State, Rajeev Kumar, until recently, held the Union secretary of shipping portfolio.
After the change of guard in Uttar Pradesh, Rajeev Kumar was on the top in a list of over 10 IAS officers sent to the Centre by chief minister Yogi Adityanath requesting that they be posted back in UP.
While the Centre relieved six officers, there was no word on the repatriation of Rajeev Kumar.
Now that he is back, bureaucratic circles are abuzz with speculation that current chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar, who is a year junior to Kumar, will have to make way for him.
Sources said Kumar is close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he enjoys a decent rapport with principal secretary Nripendra Mishra at the Prime Minister's Office.
According to highly placed sources, the Centre agreed to relieve Kumar even before he completed his term since Modi, with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, wanted an experienced officer at the helm in UP.
Earlier in UP, Rajeev Kumar had held important posts in the administration, including principal secretary of village development. He was given a Central posting by the erstwhile Samajwadi Party government.
Known to be an honest and diligent officer, if Rajeev Kumar’s appointment comes through, he will be superceding Shailesh Krishna, a 1980-batch officer.
Another officer on Central deputation, whose name was doing the rounds for the top post was Devendra Chaudhary, also a 1981-batch officer, presently posted as secretary, Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances.
However, other officers posted in UP who were vying for the post included Sanjay Agarwal (1982 batch), Deepak Singhal (1982), Sadakant (1983), Shambhu Nath Shukla (1984) etc. While Deepak Singhal was the chief secretary in Akhilesh Yadav’s regime before his unceremonious exit following the Akhilesh-Shivpal feud, Sadakant is facing