Caught between Lalu & Paswan, Buta remains adviserless

New Delhi, March 21 | Updated: Mar 22 2005, 05:30am hrs
The UPA government has once again deferred the decision on appointment of advisers to Bihar Governor Buta Singh, following continuing differences between RJD chief Lalu Prasad and LJP president Ramvilas Paswan over the issue.

However, the Congress leadership, under pressure from Mr Prasad, has found another way to pacify him and taken a decision to send Nasir Ali, a director in the department of company affairs (DCA), to Bihar.

Mr Ali will work as secretary to the Governor, say highly placed sources in the DCA. He is an officer of Indian Revenue Services of 1990 batch and currently, a director with DCA, although his appointment came through before the UPA regime. According to sources, Prem Gupta, who is minister of DCA, and a RJD member, known to be very close to Mr Prasad had an important role in Mr Alis appointment.

According to the sources, the statement of Union home minister Shivraj Patil in the Lok Sabha on Saturday while replying to the debate on Presidents rule in Bihar, that Mr Buta Singh is an able and seasoned leader and needs no advisers, forms part of the Congress leaderships strategy to pacify Mr Prasad.

This is also indicated in a home ministry communique to state chief secretary, which said, The transfer of officers may not ordinarily be resorted to and an objective criteria should be drawn up for transfers, keeping transfers at as low a level as possible. It also said, Before effecting transfers, the MHA should be consulted.

Interestingly, Buta Singh, minutes before assuming charge, had said that a shake-up in the bureaucracy was imminent.

The decision is said to be the result of Mr Prasads meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, where he is believed to have given a list of officers he favoured as advisers to the Governor. Subsequently, Mr Paswan also met Ms Gandhi, apparently to neutralise Mr Prasads pressure.

Congress strategists also feel that the decision of advisers appointments was also deffered as it could start a mud-slinging exercise between the RJD and LJP leaders.