Preparations under way at the Secretariat to host DMK government


The Chief Minister’s Office has returned all files to the departments concerned

Since the break of dawn on Monday, officials of the Public Works Department are working in the Secretariat to prepare the campus for the new government under DMK president M.K. Stalin.

The Chief Minister’s Office has returned all the files to the departments concerned — files that have been disposed of and those that were pending.

The Chief Minister’s office and nearby areas have been white-washed. The name boards of Ministers were removed in the morning, and the names were being scraped off.

“Only after the swearing-in, I will be given the names of new Ministers to be painted on the boards. Right now, I am only scraping the old names off the boards,” says artist A.T. Mani, a former TANSI employee. The Public Department’s Official Procedure (OP-II) Section has been engaging him to paint these boards for several years now.

A shuffle of IAS officers is also expected soon after the DMK assumes office. As it turns out, the change will be effected at all levels of the bureaucratic structure. Many officials in the Secretariat, who were Personal Assistants to AIADMK Ministers, have been lobbying for their return to their departments, and for safe positions. But there is also a ‘system’ in place even while lobbying for posts, some officials say.

The Public Department has started receiving applications from Personal Assistants, Office Assistants and typists expressing their interest in working in a specific department, or under a Minister. However, new Ministers will have the final say.

“It happens after every Assembly election. Employees are always divided into those supporting one party, and those supporting the others. Soon after the results come in, they decide among themselves on who will become which Minister’s Personal Assistants and who will wait for their turn,” says an Under-Secretary.

For instance, there are some departments, which are considered key, and postings there are considered high-profile.

Native district, sympathy with a party, caste and community, too, play a role in a person getting his/her desired post. “It is just like how IAS officers lobby for key posts… It happens at every level at the Secretariat. Even retired officials who sympathise with a particular party can get lucky and become Personal Assistants of Ministers,” another official says. A change in government is not just a mere change of name boards but a change in the structure demography of key posts and positions.

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