Eye on 2022 election, BJP sends PM Modi’s most trusted aide from PMO to Uttar Pradesh

Inside 96 hours of being relieved from the publish because the Union secretary of MSME Division, AK Sharma has modified his cadre from IAS to BJP. Sharma had utilized for voluntary retirement per week in the past.

After an induction ceremony presided by the UP BJP state chief Swatantra Dev Singh in Lucknow, Sharma on Thursday mentioned, “Last night I was asked to adopt the membership of Bharatiya Janata Party.”

He didn’t specify the place the orders for the swap got here from however inferences could be drawn from the truth that over the past 18 years of his profession as a bureaucrat, Sharma has earned the sobriquet of “Modi man” within the energy circles.

Additionally, the velocity at which issues moved between his plea for retirement, its acceptance by the federal government and the induction signifies who may have written the script for Sharma.

Born in UP’s Mau district, Gujarat has been his “karma bhoomi” for the 1988 IAS officer who by sheer coincidence has a Masters diploma in Political Science. Authorities sources say with UP meeting elections approaching in 2022, Sharma has been dispatched to deal with PM Modi’s “Mission UP”.

Although there aren’t any clear confirmations, BJP circles are abuzz that Sharma could get a meaty position that can justify the shift and velocity as he nonetheless had virtually 18 months left as a bureaucrat.

Sources say that on January 8, PM Modi had conveyed his choice to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

After becoming a member of BJP, Sharma, who will not be a Brahmin by caste in an announcement mentioned, “I feel honoured. There are many political outfits in the country. I have no political connections, but such a step can only be taken by a leader like PM Modi and a party like the BJP.”

Sharma to be Deputy CM?

His induction has set in movement the hearsay mills from Lucknow to Delhi. A senior state BJP chief mentioned, “An officer of his seniority and proximity will not get an ordinary portfolio in the Yogi cabinet. There are hints that he may get a cabinet berth and maybe elevated to the Deputy CM level.”

The BJP buzz about Sharma getting a Deputy CM portfolio has additional implications. In an try to stability the caste equations after the 2017 win, BJP introduced in two deputy CMs – Keshav Maurya and MBC chief and Dinesh Sharma, a Brahmin to the Yogi Adityanath cupboard, who himself belongs to the higher caste.

So, will the BJP jettison one of many two present deputy CMs to make area for Sharma and who will it’s? Or will the BJP get a 3rd deputy for Yogi?

However there aren’t any doubts about why and the way Sharma could play an lively position in UP. His induction will not be a political sign however an administrative one. Everybody within the governments in Delhi and Lucknow are actually conscious that Sharma can be PM Modi’s eyes and ears in Lucknow and can be a direct hyperlink between the 2 cities forward of the essential election in 2022.

Some BJP leaders say that Sharma’s arrival in Lucknow can also be a sign to the state’s highly effective paperwork. They anticipate him to change into the monitor for implementation of schemes and insurance policies conceived by the PMO in UP.

Picture: PTI

Sharma’s cadre swap comes at a time when the Election Fee (EC) is wanting right into a proposal which includes a suggestion to the central authorities a cooling-off interval for retired IAS, IPS and different officers of the All India Service (AIS) or those that have resigned and are planning to take a political leap.

The dialogue within the EC is claimed to have been triggered by the resignation of Bihar Director Common of Police (DGP) Gupteshwar Pandey who joined the JDU lower than per week after quitting forward of the state meeting polls.

There already exists a one-year cooling-off interval for AIS officers planning to be part of company jobs after retirement or resignation.

AK Sharma and PM Modi’s Gujarat days

Sharma was born in Muhammadabad space in Mau district of Uttar Pradesh on April 11, 1962 to Shivmurthy Rai and Shanti Devi. He handed the senior secondary stage from DAV inter faculty Mau and graduated from Allahabad College.

In 1988, he joined the civil companies after his post-graduation and as an IAS officer with the Gujarat cadre, his first posting was as a Sub-Divisional Justice of the Peace (SDM). In 1995, he took cost as DM Mehsana.

Later, he additionally served because the joint MD of Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemical substances (GSFC) and later its MD.

On October 7, 2001 when then BJP’s organisation secretary Narendra Modi was despatched to the chief minister’s workplace with no administrative expertise, the hunt began for officers to run his workplace.

Sources say that earlier than becoming a member of the CMO, Sharma was additionally the commissioner rehabilitation for the Sardar Sarovar venture on Narmada. Rehabilitation of these dislocated by the venture was an important train as a robust marketing campaign was raging towards the venture.

When Narendra Modi turned the chief minister, an inventory of three officers for appointment to the CMO was despatched. Modi picked Sharma.

The 2001 Bhuj earthquake wanted a Herculean rehab and rebuilding effort in Gujarat. it was baptism by hearth for the chief minister. Sharma was a part of the staff that Modi felt delivered at a crucial time.

His seniors and batchmates in Gujarat say he was a low-profile officer who had change into each the eyes and ears of Modi and was the go-to man within the Gujarat CM’s core staff.

Sources say that Sharma displayed a passion in dealing with financial issues. He’s mentioned to have coordinated PM Modi’s pet first version of ‘Vibrant Gujarat’, occasion which led to the state authorities signing 76 Memorandums of Understanding value $14 billion for funding within the state.

So profitable was the occasion that it turned a trendsetter with many states launching comparable enterprise and funding summits.

Quickly, Sharma had change into a single level reference within the state equipment on industrial, funding and financial issues and each time CM Modi met enterprise delegations and traders in India or overseas, Sharma was at all times by his aspect.

Senior state officers mentioned that Sharma was not solely the important thing aide for administrative issues but in addition coordinated the authorized points confronted by Modi within the wake of the Gujarat riots and numerous inquiries.

Sharma received Chief Minister Modi’s belief and that helped him keep in the identical workplace until 2013.

When Modi took cost of the South Block workplace of the Prime Minister, Sharma was introduced in from Gandhi Nagar to Delhi. PM Modi took cost on Could 26, 2014. Sharma’s appointment to the PMO was signed on Could 30 and by June 3, he had taken cost because the joint secretary in PMO.

In August 2019, PM Modi’s different key aide Nripendra Mishra retired, following which the PM rejigged his core staff.

Sharma was taking care of the infrastructure sector. He had an enormous say in designing the federal government’s Rs 100 lakh crore infrastructure funding plan in 2019.

Sharma additionally used to monitor and coordinate the work in infra ministries and industrialised states. Final yr, two further secretaries within the PMO, who have been PM’s trusted aides, have been despatched out to the important thing focus areas of the federal government.

Whereas Tarun Bajaj was appointed because the Secretary of the Division of Financial Affairs within the Ministry of Finance, he joined 1987 batch IAS officer TV Somnathan, the Union expenditure secretary as a reinforcement within the finance ministry.

Somnathan was one other officer who had served with the PMO and was dispatched to the finance ministry in December 2019. Sharma was despatched out to head the Division of MSME as its secretary.

Sources say that Bajaj was despatched to DEA to help Nirmala Sitharaman steer the pandemic-hit financial system by creating a robust and direct hyperlink with the PMO. The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has hit the financial system particularly crores of MSMEs which aren’t simply huge contributors to the GDP and exports, but in addition to employment era.

MSME revival and Atmanirbhar Bharat venture have been recognized as key thrust areas and Sharma’s appointment was a crucial ingredient to guarantee no slippages. He’s mentioned to have saved the division and the PMO on the identical web page effectively, giving form to the plans okayed by the PM.

Since Could final yr the federal government has introduced slew of measures to revive and revamp the MSME sector.

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