Senior IAS officer and Principal Secretary (Health) Jayanti Ravi has been the face of Gujarat’s fight against Covid19. After failing to arrest the Covid19 decline in the state, she has fallen off the popularity chart of political leaders in Gujarat.
The actual reason for her sidelining, however, is believed to be her old proximity to Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi. She worked as a close associate to Sonia Gandhi for three years from 2004 to 2007 during UPA I.
The story goes this way
The 1991 batch IAS officer first came into prominence in the year 2002. She was the collector Panchmahals when the Godhra train carnage took place. The BJP-affiliates including Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal were extremely unhappy with her and she was transferred from Panchmahals. It was widely reported that due to her handling of 2002 communal riots, she was not in the good books of Narendra Modi .
In 2004 when UPA came to power, Sonia Gandhi did not become Prime Minister but a parallel body was formed to work as a de facto power centre and that was the National Advisory Council (NAC).
Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi headed the NAC. The NAC used to guide the government on all crucial issues and Ravi was brought into the NAC fold as a senior IAS functionary.
Ravi used to work closely with Sonia Gandhi during those days. She was instrumental in forming key reform laws including Right To Information (RTI), NREGA and the controversial Communal Violence Bill.
Even after returning to Gujarat from deputation, she was never considered politically close to the BJP. Though, she did try to enter into the good books of the present regime by joining the South Indian lobby in Gandhinagar and was a bit successful too. But after her recent failure in controlling the corona crisis in Gujarat, she is again off the good books.
(The author is a senior journalist with over two decades of experience covering Gandhinagar, bureaucracy and politics in Gujarat.)