Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving yet another six-month extension to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth has created ripples in the corridors of power since the latter was a United Progressive Alliance appointee and was seen as the main reason behind the non-performing image of the UPA government at the fag-end of their tenure.
Sources in the government say that the main reason why Seth has been given an extension a third time is to ensure that other senior-most bureaucrats in line for the coveted post are deprived, as they are due to retire during the six-month extension tenure. It is also to ensure that the government gets to pick the bureaucrat of its choice for the post.
After the third extension to Seth, one of those who will lose out in the race is secretary in the ministry of corporate affairs Naved Masood, who is seen as a very bright officer, a go-getter and a man with a dynamic image. Masood is set to retire in February and sources say the extension is primarily to block him and three other officers.
Though a great many developments may take place in the next six months, the man who has a good chance of succeeding Seth is P K Sinha, secretary (power), who retires on June 30. Some important ministers are keen that he should be given the post and are speaking in his favour.
Another bureaucrat who will lose out is Alok Rawat, secretary, (administrative reforms) who was earlier secretary (water resources) when he is alleged to have had fall out with Modi over the Narmada waters when the former was the chief minister of Gujarat. Rawat retires in April.
The others who would have retired by then are Madan Lal, secretary, (small scale industries) and Saurab Chandra, secretary, (petroleum) who also retires in April.