LUCKNOW: With a highly politicised bureaucracy, it is little wonder that the line between bureaucrats and politics is blurring in Uttar Pradesh and a record number of retired bureaucrats are contesting the ongoing elections.
Former IAS officers P.L. Punia and Satyapal Singh have already had successful stints in politics and they seem to be inspiring many more in the cadres.
Another retired IAS officer, Vijay Shankar Pandey, who served as Principal Secretary to Mayawati during her term as Chief Minister between 2007 and 2012, is now contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat.
He has floated his own Lok Gathbandhan Party, which is not a part of any alliance. Incidentally, Pandey was posted in Faizabad during the Ayodhya movement.
Retired IAS officer Ram Bahadur, considered close to Mayawati, is contesting from Gonda contituency. Since the seat has gone to the Samajwadi Party (SP) quota under the SP-BSP-RLD alliance, Ram Bahadur is contesting under the banner of the Nagrikta Ekta Party. He was also posted in Gonda as District Magistrate.
Tribhuvan Ram, former Chief Engineer of the PWD Department, is a former BSP MLA and has been fielded as BSP candidate from the Machchhlishahr Lok Sabha seat. He is considered a veteran in the BSP and is in the good books of the BSP President.
Retired PCS officer Shyam Singh Yadav is also a BSP candidate, from Jaunpur. Yadav joined the Provincial Civil Services in 1982 and has now taken the plunge into politics.
IPS officer Kush Saurabh took voluntary retirement from service to contest from the Basgaon (reserved) Lok Sabha seat on a Congress ticket. Unfortunately, his nomination was cancelled by the Election Commission (EC).
A former Income Tax Commissioner Preeta Harit is contesting from Agra on a Congress ticket. Incidentally, she is pitted against S.P. Singh Baghel, a former security officer.
IPS officers -- former Director General Brij Lal and former Additional Director General Surya Kumar Shukla -- have joined the BJP, but are not contesting elections.
Explaining the phenomenon, Tribhuvan Ram says: "Most officers are physically fit when they retire and do not want waste their time sitting idle. Politics is a good option since the officers are proficient in public dealing and therefore we join politics."