CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is determined to bring back his trusted lieutenant, former Chief Principal Secretary (CPS) Suresh Kumar, through the back door.
On Friday, the Punjab government filed an appeal in Punjab and Haryana High Court against the decision that annulled Kumar’s appointment as CPS to the chief minister in the rank of Cabinet Secretary.
If the court doesn’t pass a favourable order, Amarinder may appoint Kumar as his advisor with Cabinet rank. In the past two weeks, he met Kumar twice at his house to convince him to rejoin the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO). Meanwhile, the lobby behind the former top bureaucrat’s ouster has intensified its efforts to appoint a new CPS.
It’s not clear whether Kumar, as advisor to the CM, would be empowered to have official files put up before him. But sources said decisions by the CMO and the government would certainly bear his stamp if he is brought back. He could be entitled to participate in every high-level official meeting and put forth his suggestions before the CM and the officers.
Before he relinquished charge after the High Court order set aside his appointment, Kumar was the power centre in the Congress state government.
With Amarinder the CM reposing complete faith in him, Kumar enjoyed unbridled powers, running the administration, making bureaucratic appointments and controlling access to the CM—be it ministers, MLAs or officers. While this earned him the sobriquets of ‘Super CM’ and ‘de facto CM’, it also created a powerful lobby against him, which eventually ensured his ouster.