Hectic lobbying has begun in Jammu and Kashmir after chief secretary Iqbal Khandey put in his papers and left the field open for civil servants vying for the top slot in the state, and trying to influence the government that they are the best candidate for the position. Top contenders for this post right now are Principal Secretary BR Sharma, who has got a clean track record, Financial Commissioner Industries and Commerce Khurshid Ganaie, who is an 1982-batch IAS officer, Arun Kumar, Financial Commissioner revenue; Sonali Kumar, IAS; AK Angurana, IAS who is on central deputation, and there might be a dark horse who the political establishment might pit when the decision has to be made.
Sources said that Khurshid Ganaie recently met top ministers in the government and is said to have made strong pitch for his elevation to the top post. The government however is keen to put BR Sharma on the top post as he has a clean track record, and has a non-controversial past. Notably Khurshid Ganaie’s name was recommended for the post of JKPSC chairman by the previous regime but it was no approved by the present government which preferred a candidate of it’s own choice.
Ganaie is being projected as a strong Muslim candidate for the top post, and his elevation his supporters say would strengthen the claim of the PDP as being champion of Kashmir, and it’s leadership. Sources however said that the government, and the chief minister have not finalized the name of any candidate for the top post although the BR Sharma is clearly ahead in the competition.
The selection of next chief secretary would also depend on how
coalition partners BJP and PDP view the appointment to this post, and who enjoys the confidence of both the parties. The position of Chief Secretary is a key position as he represents the administration of the entire state, and works in tandem with the government to execute the policy level decisions.