Additional chief secretary in-charge of home department Chandra Iyengar is likely to join the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) once she retires in November.
The NCP, which holds the home portfolio, wants to have a greater say in deciding Iyengar’s successor.
The party has decided not to allow the chief minister to take a decision without consulting the home minister.
An NCP leader said the party could not afford to let the additional chief secretary’s post be just an administrative post. “In the backdrop of terrorist strikes and Maoist attacks, we cannot do that,” he said. “Whoever succeeds Iyengar will have to be on the job 24x7.”
Iyengar, who was among the frontrunners for the chief secretary’s post last year, had to be content as the additional chief secretary after the top Congress leadership decided to make senior IAS officer JP Dange (Dalit cadre) the chief secretary.
Dange too has started planning his post-retirement role. A source in the general administration department (GAD) said Dange is one of the 35 officers lobbying for the post of chief information commissioner (CIC). Since chief minister Ashok Chavan did not want to set a bad precedent by shifting a serving chief secretary to the CIC.
“The challenge before the government is to find a suitable officer for the additional chief secretary’s post,” a source in the chief minister’s office said. “After the November 26 terror attack, Iyengar had to manage a faction-ridden police department. It was a big challenge for her to make all the top cops coordinate between themselves and work for a common cause. And the chief minister and home minister were pleased with her performance.”
In the backdrop of the Ram Pradhan committee report that exposed the lapses in the functioning of the police department and shortcomings in the home department, Iyengar played a major role in streamlining the system.
A home ministry source said whoever comes in place of Iyengar would have to “set aside his/her ego and learn to work with equally assertive top police officers”.