Lucknow : With Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati poised to return to the helm in Uttar Pradesh, the state's bureaucracy, especially those who were known to be close to outgoing Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, are nervous.
As the countdown for her installation as chief minister of the state for the fourth time began, the bureaucrats have started looking worried, and not just those who had chosen to blindly align themselves with Mulayam Singh's Samajwadi Party.
"I know I will be among those who are going to be targeted simply because I happened to be attached to the chief minister," remarked an Indian Administrative Service officer who had earned the branding of being a member of Mulayam Singh's inner coterie.
Apparently seeing the writing on the wall, some of the officers posted in the chief minister's personal secretariat had already got themselves posted out on innocuous jobs – well before the election results were out.
The Samajwadi Party has been routed in the 403-member assembly, while the BSP is poised to form a government on its own.
"Mayawati's past experience tells us that she would once again resort to mass transfers and frequent reshuffling of officers in different cadres of the state, so we need to be really ready with our bags once again," quipped another IAS officer who, until recently, occupied a very prominent position in the government on account of his close proximity to Mulayam Singh's brother Shivpal Yadav.
While the bulk of the bureaucracy, including several senior police officers, are apprehensive about their future in the Mayawati regime, a section of bureaucrats are quite optimistic that she would not be her usual brazen self in her fourth stint.
"You must realise that with the passage of time she is bound to have changed," asserted a senior bureaucrat, who chose to remain loyal to her in the worst of times and refused to get lured by Mulayam Singh Yadav to become an approver in the Taj Corridor real estate scam case against Mayawati.
He argued, "You must also understand that this tenure of hers is going to be different from all past stints – after all she is going to form the government almost entirely on her own. And that is what will also make much difference."
He was of the view that a positive change in Mayawati's approach towards the bureaucracy, and thereby the overall governance, was bound to come.
"Unlike the past, she is here now to play a long innings during which she would wish to prove that she is capable of providing far better governance than any of her rivals," predicted the officer.