Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday sought to allay fears of an escalating cold war between the ministers and bureaucrats with the revelation that State Transport Chief Mahesh Zagade had sought a transfer, indicating that he had not been shifted based on complaints from the transport minister, as many had suggested.

The CM said that Zagade wanted to head the newly formed Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority. File pics
The CM said that Zagade wanted to head the newly formed Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority. File pics

Fadnavis did, however, issue a veiled warning to the bureaucrats and said that ministers were the executives of the state as per the Constitution and they would, thus, always prevail in the decision-making process.

‘He wanted it’
Fadnavis said that Zagade had requested to be given a posting in the newly formed Pune Metropolitan Region Develop-ment Authority (PMRDA), where he was transferred as the chief executive officer on May 14.

“Zagade assured me that he would make the Pune authority an agency to reckon with in three years, if he was given an opportunity to lead it. He had asked for the posting, I did not transfer him deliberately,” said the CM. Zagade’s eight-month tenure as transport commissioner was marked by his crackdown on agents in RTO offices and his disciplining of errant officials.

Many of his decisions had not gone down well with transport minister Diwakar Raote. The IAS officer’s earlier posting in the Food and Drugs Department had also seen complaints from pharmacists and medical shop owners, who were affected by his strong decisions. Zagade was not available for comment.

Final word
The CM said that the ministers and bureaucrats do differ, but only on certain issues. “There could be various opinions on a given subject, but that does not mean that the ministers and bureaucrats are always fighting (for power and authority).

I see no feud between the ministers and officers,” he said. Fadnavis did, however, underline the superiority of his Cabinet colleagues when he said that the ministers would always prevail. “Ministers take decisions because they are the executives as per the powers vested in them by the Constitution.

The minister will always prevail (in matters of decision making).” The CM’s warning is significant in view of the resentment among IAS officers posted in Mantralaya. Many secretaries have complained to the CM that their respective ministers take decisions without consulting them.

Several ministers have countered such complaints by telling Fadnavis that IAS officers are not pro-people in matters of governance and decision-making.