Between the devil and the deep blue sea: Why Andhra bureaucrats are an unhappy lot

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BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 28, 2022 | 10:38 PM Updated Apr 04, 2023 | 9:12 PM

Andhra Pradesh secretariat

Bureaucrats in Andhra Pradesh are an unhappy lot. At least the ones who are not aligned to one or the other political formation in the state.

They find themselves caught between Chief Minister and YSRCP supremo YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and the Opposition TDP and the “yelow media”, cheerleaders of the party.

Recently, Jagan openly asked collectors and other senior bureaucrats to hold press conferences and not be afraid to be aggressive in countering allegations made by Opposition parties and their media backers, especially if the reporting is based on twisted or distorted facts.

He added that the TDP’s attempts to twist the truth and paint a false picture of the government should be resisted. Otherwise, he warned, the public might get the wrong impression.

But that is easier said than done, as far as the bureaucrats are concerned.

“Even if we hold a press meet to state the facts, Opposition parties and also a section of media pick up points that are often irrelevant to tarnish the government’s image. It doesn’t stop with just one press conference. We just caught between two aggressive poles,” a senior bureaucrat told South First.

The babus are also concerned that Jagan has said that it his final warning to those who skirt controversies and avoid rebutting claims made by the Opposition and the media.

And there is good reason for them to be concerned. The YS Jagan dispensation has dumped senior bureaucrats it has been unhappy with bang in the middle of their terms, such as then chief secretary LV Subramanyam and then DGP Gautam Sawang.

In a recent Cabinet meeting, Jagan even slammed a few ministers for not being aggressive enough in countering the “yellow media” that frequently dragged the names of his family members into controversies. He even threatened to drop them from the Cabinet if they didn’t begin taking on the TDP and kits media aggressively.

If such is the fate of Cabinet ministers, what to speak of bureaucrats!