Come election season and news of public servants leaving service to jump into electoral politics start doing the rounds. It happened during the last Lok Sabha elections. And it is happening again ahead of the Maharashtra assembly elections.
Retired ACP Bhanupratap Barge, retired additional commissioner Sahebrao Patil of Pune city police and Pradip Sharma of Mumbai Police, an encounter specialist Inspector, are set to contest the elections this time. While Barge and Patil retired, Sharma resigned from service before joining politics. During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, then Mumbai Police Commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh had resigned to contest from Baghpat (Meerut) from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He has won with a thumping majority riding on the Modi wave because he remained out of UP for over 30 years. He was also the Pune police commissioner.
The political parties want to bank on the popularity of these officers and are also hoping to gain new ideas from their experience.
Barge has huge fan following in Pune and is known for his public relation initiatives even during his stint in the department. He is an alumnus of Fergusson College and is seen at public functions. He was the troubleshooter for the department and has been points-man for cops. He is expected to contest from Shivajinagar constituency on Shiv Sena ticket.
On the other hand, Patil hails from Tamaswadi village in Parola taluka of Jalgaon district. He joined the Maharashtra Police as deputy superintendent of police in 1990. Besides serving in the police department, he had also been working in social and cultural fields and has been training students, and helping farmers in his hometown. During the last Lok Sabha elections, he had camped in Delhi hoping to get a BJP ticket for Jalgaon but did not succeed. Now after his retirement, he is expected to contest the assembly election on BJP ticket.
Mumbai Police encounter specialist, Inspector Sharma, resigned after working for 35 years in the department. His family hails from Agra in UP and he is expected to contest from Nalasopara constituency near Mumbai, on a Shiv Sena ticket. The party is banking on the huge North Indian community in the constituency.
BJP State unit Vice President Yogesh Gogawale said, “Party will get the advantage of government servants having experience to frame a policy and its implementation. To make policy and to implement them is two major parts of good governance. Policies’ success depends on its effective implementation. On the implementation of policies, the party needs experience of bureaucrats.”
City Congress spokesperson Ramesh Iyer said, “Most of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service ( IPS) are interested in entering politics. They approach different political parties. Parties consider their administrative working experience. They consider it will help parties to have good MPs and MLAs. However, it is not true that every officer will be useful for the party.”
There is another undercurrent in the political parties that there is no reason to give a chance to bureaucrats. Politics is a different field. It is not easy for every bureaucrat to get a chance and become a successful politician. Party workers don’t like bureaucrats as they are outsiders.
However, while working with politicians, bureaucrats consider that it is a very easy field.
Bureaucrat close ties with politicians will help them to get easy access in politics. But, people don’t accept every bureaucrat as a politician. So, there is a rare example of bureaucrats turning into a successful politician.
In Maharashtra, retired IAS officer Vikram Boke had tired his luck in Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), but it did not succeed. Ex-IPS officer Suresh Khopade had also failed in politics. Ex-IAS Arun Bhatiya had also not succeeded in politics. He had contested the Pune Lok Sabha seat.
Ex-IAS Shrinivas Patil is one of the few successful bureaucrats who is still in politics. He is a member of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and he was former Governor of Sikkim. He was representing Karad Lok Sabha constituency.
At the national level, there are some successful politicians such as Arvind Kejriwal (Ex-IRS) (Aam Aadmi Party chief and Chief Minister of Delhi), Satyapal Singh (Ex-IPS), Mani Shankar Aiyar, (Ex-IFS), Meira Kumar (Ex-IFS) (Congress), Kiran Bedi (Ex-IPS), Yashwant Sinha (Ex-IAS).