With the uncertainty over Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan's fate continuing, the bureaucracy machinery at Mantralaya seems to have come to a grinding halt. As confusion takes over the state's seat of power, babus are unable to focus on their work.
Over the past week, there have been conflicting reports on removal of Chavan from the top post. Government officials are now unsure whether to take his orders seriously or wait for some more days get a clearer picture.
"We do not feel like working seriously. We are not sure if Chavan will remain on the CM's chair or not. Most of our senior and junior staffers are either taking off or leaving offices early," said a senior bureaucrat in Mantralaya, requesting anonymity.
Sources said Chavan has also told Congress president Sonia Gandhi that lingering on the decision will not help the party in any way. Officials say if the Congress wants to retain Chavan as the CM, the party high-command should have made it clear by now.
"There are talks that an observer will come to gauge the mood of senior Congress ministers and MLAs. There is also news that Sonia Gandhi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi are out of the country and the matter will be kept pending till they return," said another officer.
If Chavan resigns, the entire cabinet will get dissolved. "In that case, the new CM and cabinet ministers will choose their own staff. It means there will again be a reshuffle in bureaucratic appointments. So it is better to wait," said a babu from urban development department.
Meanwhile, state cabinet ministers and senior Congress leaders, whose names are making rounds for the top post, are staying put in Delhi to lobby for themselves. This has led to files getting piled up.
"The party workers are bearing the brunt of this undesirable situation. Rather than protesting against the BJP-led government over the steep hike in rail fares, they are spending time in some work or waiting for a decision," said a senior Congress officebearer.
The functionary added, "If we miss such big issues and opportunities, we will never be able to criticise the centre."