Saturday, November 07, 2009

A tribute to Gopi Arora: babuz of Rajiv Gandhi era

CALL him babuz of Rajiv Gandhi's PMO, wielding enormous clout and influence in Raisina Hill of late 1980s. Gopi Arora, 76, whose tenure as special secretary in PMO was quite eventful and at times even controversial, died on Thursday. The cremation is taking place on Saturday. Apart from being the special secretary in the PMO, he was also the secretary of information and broadcasting (I&B) at a time when Doordarshan and All India Radio were the only powerful electronic media in India. Babuz is a newly coined word describing smart, powerful and influential bureaucrats who make a difference in policy formulation. He played an important role in handling the Punjab crisis and was the man behind crafting the Rajiv-Longowal accord (1985) in Punjab and Assam Accord (1985). Mr Arora, who was spotted by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as an efficient bureaucrat, had a pro-Moscow and pro-Left leanings like most other civil servants of that era. Many a time, Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister of India in 1980s relied on Arora more than his politician colleagues for which many influential political leaders of the time tried to maintain good rapport with Arora. Arora's thoughts and strategic moves found place in many of Rajiv Gandhi's speeches, and it is said in the power corridor that he was the man behind the populist, left-leaning Congress Working Committee (CWC) resolution following the Bofors’ revelations. No wonder, he was later dragged in by the CBI on the Bofors case. The man who had the high point as the special secretary in the PMO later moved to IMF as India's representative. Read: babuz no 1: Pulok Chaterji is India’s most powerful bureaucrat (August 17, 2009) babuz no 2: TKA Nair is India’s second most powerful bureaucrat (August 18, 2009)
Action & Appointments a) P J Mathew, a 1983 batch IA& AS has been appointed as joint secretary (finance) in the department of space for a period of five years from the date of assumption of charge of the post or until further orders. b) Ms K Sujatha Rao, a 1974 batch AP cadre IAS and secretary in the department of health and family welfare in the ministry of health and family welfare will hold additional charge of the post of secretary, department of health research, ministry of health and family welfare, during the period of leave of Dr V M Katoch from 31st October, 2009 to 12th November, 2009. c) Central deputation tenure of Vinod Kumar Thakral, a 1982 batch Manipur-Tripura cadre IAS and joint secretary in the ministry of mines has been extended for a period of three months beyond November 3, 2009.


  1. Gopi Arora was like Ashok Saikia during Vajpayee's time and Pulok Chaterjee of Manmohan Singh's first UPA government. But who is Gopi Arora of today's South Block? Can you figure out?

  2. May his departed soul rest in peace!!!