SRINAGAR: Iqbal Khanday- after a stellar bureaucratic career spanning 37 years-stuck to his principled stance and stand over political interference in administration and governance formally and finally quit his position as chief secretary of the state. A cross section of the civil secretariat employees bid Khanday an emotional farewell. Suppressed emotion at Khandays resignation and bottled up angst were palpable amongst the secretariat employees. Khandays resignation drew respect and applause from minions and bureaucrats alike for having the courage of his convictions and sticking to his principles.
Khanday, according to sources, has bid a final farewell to public life; he will not and has not sought a post retirement position, sources said. Khanday stuck to his guns despite the requests to reconsider his decision by a troika of ministers like Haseeb Drabu, Javed Mustafa Mir and Imran Ansari-the only members of the political class that visited the former chief secretary.
Meanwhile as the drama of the resignation unfolded amidst a range of emotions, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir is without an administrative head. This has fed speculation about who the next chief secretary of the state will be. While some suggest B R Sharma has been narrowed down as a choice for the CS post, the possible candidature of Sharma has generated controversy. The sticking point here is seniority. Sharma is held to be number 5 in the seniority list.
Earlier a local news agency reported that Khurshid Ganai-Financial Commissioner Industries and Commerce- was eyeing the CS post. CNS quoting an unnamed close aide of Ganai had reported that, there is not an iota of doubt that Ganai will resign in case government violates seniority norms and appoint B.R.Sharma as the new Chief Secretary of the State.
Ganai, however, later refuted this attribution to him. The senior IAS officer, on phone said that , government only can decide about the appointment of new Chief Secretary in wake of the incumbent CS going on Voluntary Retirement from Services (VRS).Ganai added that certain comments attributed to him with regards to the appointment of new CS were wrong which seems to be a mischief aimed against me.