May 31, 2020
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Hand-In-Hand... If Not Hand-In-Glove

When it comes to personal favours, rival politicos have a ‘mutual understanding’

Hand-In-Hand... If Not Hand-In-Glove
Narendra Modi and Mulayam Singh Yadav share a ‘personal’ moment
Photograph by Getty Images
Hand-In-Hand... If Not Hand-In-Glove
  • The Attempt: Shivpal Yadav’s son-in-law IAS Ajay Yadav’s request for a deputation to UP was turned down thrice by the DOPT
  • The Call: When all attempts failed, Mulayam Singh Yadav is said to have made a  call to PM Modi regarding the issue
  • The Diktat: Ajay Yadav’s request was ­treated “as a special case” and approved by the ACC, under the PMO’s ­directive 


Ideologically, the BJP and the Samajwadi Party (SP) might appear to be antithetical, but on several occasions, they seem to be complementing each other’s interests—be it in playing a politics of polarisation that serves both electorally or on more ­personal fronts.

Whenever the BJP has risen to power, the SP has thrived. And just as the Sangh’s rabble-rousers raise heat and dust in the name of Hindutva, the SP finds it convenient to consolidate its Muslim vote bank. Sure enough, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav makes it a point to periodically rem­ind Muslims that they owe their safety and security from the onslaught of rabid Hindutva only to him and his party. And quite systematically, BJP leaders do not forget to publicly accuse Mulayam and his party of playing “the politics of Muslim appeasement”.

Besides religious polarisation, other factors too have come into play to bring the SP and the BJP on a discreet common footing. Mulayam’s sudden U-turn from the ‘grand alliance’ in Bihar was one such occasion. It was seen as a move to benefit the BJP (which eventually did not happen) by forging a division of the Muslim vote. It is said that Mulayam’s U-turn was attributed to the pressure of the CBI sword dangling over him in the disproportionate assets case pending against him and his family.

A few months ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ordinarily mindful of the rules, went out of his way to ‘oblige’ Mulayam’s younger brother and UP’s most powerful multi-portfolio minister Shivpal Yadav. His son-in-law Ajay Yadav, a 2010 batch IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, was allowed a convenient deputation to UP in utter violation of all rules through an unusual order of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by the PM.

The prime minister intervened to bend all rules after Ajay’s repeated requests were turned down by the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) three times in a row on the ground that the off­icer had not completed nine years of service in the parent cadre, which is mandatory for seeking inter-state deputation.

Ajay Yadav moved his first application for deputation barely four years into service and less than two years after getting married into UP’s ruling Yadav clan. In his application dated November 7, 2014, Ajay sought a “short-term deputation” to UP on the plea that his one-year- old child was under some special treatment (unspecified) at AIIMS, New Delhi, and that he had to look after his mother who lived alone in Saharanpur.

The PM-headed ACC’s order for Ajay Yadav’s inter-cadre deputation

The application went as follows: “On April 1, 2013, I was blessed with a baby named Aviraj in a hospital in Lucknow, which is the hometown of my wife. Immediately after birth, the child faced serious health complications and was referred to AIIMS, New Delhi. The child was admitted and treated at AIIMS and is presently being regularly monitored and examined by doctors at AIIMS, New Delhi from time to time.”

He went on to add, “Recently, my father, Late Mr Satish Yadav, passed away on September 13, 2014. In the present circumstances I am duty-bound to take/give proper medical attention to my one- year-3-month-old child and take care of my mother who is staying alone in my hometown of Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Therefore, if I am granted a short-term deputation to my home state of Uttar Pradesh I will be able to discharge my duty towards my family.” The matter came up for discussion before the DOPT secretary on January 14, 2015, but was rejected on the ground that, “the officer, being of the 2010 batch, has not completed minimum nine years in his parent cadre. As such, the proposal for his inter-cadre deputation to Uttar Pradesh cadre is not covered under the policy.” The committee went on to add, “The grounds quoted by the officer were very general in nature, which does not justify for consideration of his request in relaxation of guidelines and also the req­uest for inter-cadre deputation is at too early a stage of his service.”

Shortly after his request was turned down, Ajay moved a fresh app­lication with the same plea on June 4, 2015, but it was rejected by the DOPT once again on the same ground as before. No sooner than the DOPT order dated July 14, 2015, reached Ajay, his father-in-law Shivpal Yadav got into action. On July 23, 2015, Shivpal sent a letter directly to Modi, seeking his intervention in the matter. This was followed by a personal call from Mulayam, which did the magic. The PMO instantly directed the DOPT to reconsider Ajay’s case and even went to the extent of urging the department to hold its next meeting for considering deputation cases at an early date.

Accordingly, the next meeting was convened on August 31, 2015. However, DOPT secretary Sanjay Kothari stuck to his earlier stand and turned down Ajay’s application for a third time. Several other similar cases in which officers had not fulfilled the basic criterion for allowing inter-state deputations were rejected as well.

However, what followed was a diktat from the top. Through its order No. 37/32/2015-EO(SM-1), dated October 22, 2015, the ACC, headed by the PM, overruled the DOPT. The order stated, “The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal for inter-cadre deputation of Shri Ajay Yadav, IAS (TN-10) from Tamil Nadu cadre to Uttar Pradesh cadre for a period of three years on personal grounds, in relaxation of policy, as a special case.” Every other req­uest for similar inter-state deputation was turned down. But sure enough, once on home ground fully controlled by the Yadav clan, Ajay got a prized job as the district magistrate of Barabanki. Only, Barabanki is barely 32 km from the state capital and more than 500 km from Delhi, where his child was stated to be undergoing regular monitoring and treatment.

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow

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