The new government in Jharkhand on Monday removed senior IAS officer Sunil Kumar Barnwal as principal secretary to the chief minister. Barnwal held the post since 2015 and was considered close to former chief minister Raghubar Das of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Sources said the clout he enjoyed in the previous regime had sparked speculation of his removal and that of some others. However, since the state Budget has to be tabled shortly, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led government is focusing only on critical positions. It is rumoured that anticipating the outcome, Barnwal had applied for a central posting just before the election results were announced but it is not known what happened after that. As of now, he is attached to the Department of Personnel, Administrative Reforms & Rajbhasha, the coordinating agency of the state government in personnel matters.
The Congress has been celebrating its 135th foundation day (December 28) across the country. Some expelled leaders of its Uttar Pradesh unit have also been celebrating the occasion separately while simultaneously slamming the party for cracking down on them. Last month, 10 senior state unit leaders, including All India Congress Committee member Santosh Singh and former UP legislator Siraj Mehndi, were expelled for six years on charges of indiscipline. While the “official” Congress unit of UP was busy hosting party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Lucknow, the expelled leaders claimed they constituted the “real" Congress and that the current disciplinary panel of the party had no business easing them out because it comprised mostly people with a criminal history.
Stick to the script
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had a tough time administering the oath of office to some ministers on Monday. He reprimanded two ministers on the dais during the swearing-in ceremony for deviating from the text of the oath. Koshyari first intervened when Congress MLA Varsha Gaikwad invoked Dalit icon B R Ambedkar while taking the oath. The governor stopped Gaikwad, a four-term MLA from Dharavi in Mumbai, and asked her to stick to the written words of the oath. Then, while taking oath as a cabinet minister in the state government, Congress MLA KC Padvi added a few lines of gratitude for his voters. Koshyari directed the seven-term legislator, who represents Akkalkuva in north Maharashtra, to take the oath again.