Fire-brand IAS officer Prasanth Nair, who was the former district collector of Kozhikode, may soon be seen in a different avatar- as the private secretary to Alphons Kannanthanam, the newly inducted Union Minister of State for Tourism.
On Monday, media reports stated that Prasanth, who was more popularly known as the "Collector Bro," is likely to be appointed to the post.
Sources close to the IAS officer has confirmed to TNM that Minister Alphons Kannanthanam has moved papers for appointing Prasanth in his team.
Pointing out that the minister was keen on having Prasanth on-board, the source however, added that the orders, hasn't come through as of yet. The process is expected to take a few more weeks before a formal confirmation comes through.
The source, who requested anonymity, also refuted reports by regional media outlets that a section of BJP members in Kerala were unhappy with Prasanth being considered to the post. This was not true, the source asserted.
"For one, Kannanthanam had consulted state leaders before initiating the process. Two, this is a central bureaucratic posting and unlike in Kerala, it does not work on pressure exerted by political parties," the source maintained.
Various Malayalam media outlets had also reported that Prasanth may not get the posting of Personal Secretary, which was equivalent to a Joint Secretary level posting. Sources close to Prasanth however refuted this and told TNM that he was currently at Director level, and there were no hurdles in his appointment.
The Collector Bro
The 2007 batch IAS officer was appointed as the district collector of Kozhikode in 2015. The young bureaucrat rose in popularity, when he cleverly used social media to reach out to people, especially youngsters, encouraging them to be part of development projects in Kozhikode. It was under his tenure that the 'Compassionate Kozhikode' scheme was launched, that envisaged a number of programmes to alleviate poverty, including the much acclaimed 'Operation Sulaimani', that ensures a free meal to the poor.
After an eventful tenure as the district collector of Kozhikode, that won him the popular title of "Collector Bro," Prasanth was transferred out in February this year.
Although his sudden transfer was seen as an aftermath of his public spat with Congress MP MK Raghavan, Prasanth had then maintained that it was a routine transfer, for he had completed his two-year tenure in the district.
The public spat with the senior Congress leader was in July last year, after he questioned the Collector over delay in releasing MP fund. The MP had accused Prasanth of being active on social media and not concentrating on developmental work and demanded an apology from the bureaucrat. The issue escalated, when Prasanth chose to reply aptly with a pun on social media.
Prasanth was charged of misconduct in relation to the issue in January 2017. A month later, he was replaced as the district collector. Following this, Prasanth had been on a sabbatical, but continued to interact with the people on social media.