Srinagar: The ‘voluntary retirement’ of Chief Secretary Iqbal Khandey on Wednesday prompted the government to send a delegation of PDP ministers to convince him to “reconsider” his decision.
A senior minister said though they were very “apologetic”, their attempts to persuade Khandey to reconsider his decision did ‘not fructify at the moment’.
On his part, Khandey said he was miffed at the government for not changing the date of the cabinet meeting despite his personal engagements. He dismissed media reports claiming his agenda was not approved or that his favorites were not accommodated on suitable positions. “No, the only reason (for my voluntary retirement) is that they (government) conducted the cabinet meet without my presence,” he told Kashmir Reader.
Meanwhile, a source said that CM Mufti Sayeed was eager to make Khandey reconsider his decision, so the team of ministers was sent to meet Khandey at his office.
Khandey, an IAS officer of the 1978 batch, was elevated to the coveted post on February 18, 2013, by the Omar Abdullah-led coalition government.
Principal Secretary, Planning and Development Department Brij Raj Sharma, who is number 6 on the seniority list, is reportedly being considered for the post in case Khandey sticks to his decision. However, the source also said that Finance Commissioner Industries and Commerce Khurshid A Ganai was likely be annoyed for being ignored, if Sharma becomes the CS, as he (Ganai) is no 5 on the seniority list. “Otherwise, the government has to accommodate him on some other post,” the source said. Ganai is due to retire in October.
Dr Arun Kumar, who is the senior-most officer after Khandey would not be considered by the government because of his role in the Amarnath land row in 2008, the source said.