After weeks of hectic lobbying, finally, the State got a new face for the post of chief secretary (CS) on Thursday. The 1987-batch IAS officer RP Mandal outsmarted his potential rival, CK Khaitan, to become the 11th CS of the mineral-rich State.

Mandal is considered close to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel but his reputation as an able administrator and sharp-brain bureaucrat turned the table in his favour. The State has high hopes from Mandal to speed up development works and unlock the stalled infrastructure-related projects in poverty-hit and leftist insurgency-hit regions.

Khaitan who had exhausted his almost all potential contacts within and outside the state to become chief secretary, has been shifted to Bilaspur as Chairman of the Revenue Board.

Baghel who had made up his mind a month ago to go with Mandal for the post of new chief secretary, maintained a complete suspense till last day about the new CS. Mandal has a tag of a hyper active IAS officer who knows tricks to act in accordance with incumbent government to speed up development.

Sources say that Khaitan was reportedly infamous for taking credit for everything while doing literally nothing. He made several attempts in recent weeks to grab Baghel’s eyeball at public debates and workshops organised by private think tanks or individuals either in Chhattisgarh or in Delhi, which was reportedly disapproved by the chief minister.

Highly placed sources claimed that a former chief secretary who presently holds considerable clout in Baghel government, was dead against Khaitan becoming CS and his opinion was also said to be a key factor in appointment of the new CS.