Skip to main content

Known for impeccable reputation, Gujarat IAS babu SR Rao may join AAP, fight Lok Sabha polls from Surat

By Rajiv Shah
SR Rao, the 1978 batch Gujarat cadre IAS bureaucrat who retired from the service in January 2014, is being considered as the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) Lok Sabha poll candidate from Surat, where he shot into prominence after boldly cleaning the city of plague in mid-1990s. Known for his impeccable reputation, Rao once again gained confidence of the people of the South Gujarat city after he fought to clean up the city, engulfed in its worst-ever flood in 2006.
A top official in the chief minister’s office (CMO) told Counterview that in case Rao, who won Padma Shri for his Surat feat against plague, agrees to become the AAP’s candidate from Surat, he is “sure to win.” Considered a sure seat of the BJP, the official said, “Rao’s reputation in Surat is enough to defeat to the BJP in the city. Two decades later, Rao remains invincible in Surat.” Former principal secretary, urban development, Gujarat government, Rao retired as commerce secretary of the Government of India.
There is enough reason for the ruling BJP to worry. After he left Gujarat to serve the Government of India in 2008, efforts were made by powerful sections of the state bureaucracy, close to chief minister Narendra Modi, to implicate Rao in what many say was a “framed land scam”. Sachivalaya officials say, on one of Modi aide’s advice, the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) of the police was roped in to investigate into the non-existent land scam, “involving” Rao. 
The matter concerns Rao’s alleged role as chairman of the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA), during his stint as principal secretary, urban development, in the sale of a piece of land to a party at lower-than-market rate. It is widely rumoured that Modi’s officials tried doing this at the behest of the chief minister, who never liked Rao’s critical views on developmental issues of Gujarat, which he expressed frankly in internal meetings.
Ever since efforts by the CM office to instruct the ACB to initiate an inquiry against Rao, the top bureaucrat kept himself away from most of his batchmates and colleagues with whom he was close. Retired, most of his colleagues told Counterview that they have “no knowledge” about what Rao has been doing, and what were his post-retirement plans. However, one of them revealed that senior AAP leaders -- seeking support from “clean” IAS officials -- are in “contact with Rao” and are seeking to rope him in to fight for the party from Surat.
One of the batchmates of Rao told Counterview, “It would be a difficult choice for Rao. He should know that he would not get any fund to fight polls from the AAP. On the other hand, if he fights polls on BJP ticket from Surat, he is sure to get enough funds and support. It goes without saying that he would win the poll in Surat.” Another bureaucrat added, “Rao is a difficult bureaucrat. Once he is convinced about something, he would go headlong.” 

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Did Netaji turn blind eye to Japanese massacre while in Andaman during World War-II?

Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani museum off Chandigarh By Rajiv Shah  Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ignore the massacre carried out by the Japanese army in Andaman and Nicobar islands during the Second World War? It would seem so, if one goes by the account of Mohinder Singh Dhillon, who authored a book in memory of his father, 'A Titan in the Andamans, Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani'. Dr Diwan Singh was tortured to death by the Japanese soldiers in the cellular jail in Andaman in 1944.

A golden goose, GoI bent on selling LIC 'for pittance' without consulting stakeholders

By Thomas Franco*  In spite of strong opposition from all sections of the society, the Finance Minister (FM) recently asked her Ministries to speed up Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) Initial Public Offer (IPO). Does she realise that this can lead to collapse of the economy over a period of time because LIC is a golden goose which is giving golden eggs regularly to the economy, development projects and providing social security to the majority of the marginalised people of this country.

Modi's Gujarat 'ignores' India's biggest donor of Azad Hind Fauj, Dhoraji's Habib Sheth

By Dr Hari Desai* One surely feels happy that the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is being installed near the India Gate in New Delhi. Every Indian and even Netaji’s 79-year-old daughter Prof Anita Bose Pfaff feels happy about the statue at the most important area of the capital. In an interview with an Indian TV, Anita, who is a German citizen, mentions that she thinks if not Netaji’s only Mahatma Gandhi’s statue should have been there. She may be aware that there existed a plan to install life-sized statue of the Father of the Nation at that place.  Even after differences with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel which led Netaji to leave the Indian National Congress, Bose was the first person to call Mahtma Gandhi Father of the Nation on July 6,1944 in his Ragoon Radio broadcast, and sought Bapu’s blessings as the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army (INA). Till 1968 there was statue of King George V at India Gate. It was removed and placed in the Coronation Park, New Del

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Biodiversity bill 'undermines' tribal rights, ayurveda, India's federal structure

Counterview Desk  Demanding immediate and complete withdrawal of proposed Biodiversity Act Amendment Bill, 2021, a statement issued by the Coalition for Environmental Justice in India, consisting of tens of civil society organisations, activists and experts, has said that it is a “well calibrated and clear attempt to progressively undermine and destroy the sovereign rights and control that the people of India have over their biodiversity, bioresources and associated traditional knowledge.” Floated by the Bangaluru-based Environment Support Group, it adds, the proposed Act would undermine “a right that is particularly crucial for adivasis, Dalits, farmers, fishers, vaids, hakims, nomadic and de-notified tribes, and such other natural resource dependent peoples whose lives, livelihoods and socio-economic wellbeing are intricately linked to nature.” Text : The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has proposed comprehensive amendments to the Biological D

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Is it time to celebrate India's 'improved' sex ratio? Reasons to question NFHS data

By Aditi Chaudhary*  The recently published National Family Health Survey (NFHS) factsheet brought cheers amongst the public and the government. With Child Sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males in the age group 0 - 6 years) and overall sex ratio (the total number of females per 1000 males), both showing an improvement, NFHS-5 (2019-21) got applauded by all around.

Blunting Constitution? 'Secular' parties using communalism to compete with BJP

By Prem Singh*  Most spheres of Indian politics have been tainted by communalism. Looking at the current political scene of the country, it seems that just as there is a consensus on neoliberalism among the political and intellectual elite of India, similarly a consensus has been made on communal politics or political communalism.