Monday, September 27, 2010

POWER GAMES: What’s if principal secretary to PM TKA Nair is made a Governor?

THE talks in the Raisina Hills last weekend were not just confined to hits and misses in the preparation of the Commonwealth Games. Babus picked up the phone even on Sunday to find out whether it’s just a rumour or news that principal secretary to PM, TKA Nair would be moved out of the power corridor and made Governor of Madhya Pradesh after the Commonwealth Games. If Nair, who has been playing a key role in the PMO, is sent for a gubernatorial position in the same way as former national security advisor M K Narayanan was sent a few months ago, the bigger speculation is who would replace Nair in New Delhi’s power epicenter? 
The speculations got intensified when a national newspaper whose editor had a stint in PMO earlier, published a report in its front page on Sunday that Nair is likely to be appointed Governor of Madhya Pradesh and former Chief Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla, who is reportedly close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, may become Governor of Rajasthan.
If that turns out to be true, former cabinet secretary and Planning Commission Member BK Chaturvedi who enjoys a close rapport with the Prime Minister could be a top contender for the post of principal adviser to PM. But there would be much more action in Raisina Hills if PM chooses his new blue eyed boy and incumbent cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar for the post. If PM’s assigning of key Games responsibilities to Chandrasekhar and the latter’s serial extension as the cabinet secretary are any indication, Prime Minister may reserve this high-profile slot to Chandrasekhar too. Mind it, PM himself is a strong believer of continuity.
But if Chandrasekhar is picked up for this coveted post, the next question that comes is who will be the cabinet secretary? Despite World Bank ED and 1974 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre Pulok Chatterjee is close to 10 Janpath, his elevation as cabinet secretary at this juncture would mean superceding of a large number of seniors IAS particularly finance secretary and 1973 batch Gujarat cadre IAS Ashok Chawla who is retiring only on January 31, 2011. (Read: Pulok Chatterjee as the Most Powerful Bureaucrat of 2009)
So, who knows if PM chooses Pulok Chatterjee, who as secretary in the PMO played a key role during UPA-I, as his principal secretary? But who then will be the top contenders for India’s next cabinet secretary once Chandrasekhar retires in June next year? Clearly, at this stage there are more questions than definitive answers. 
Also Read
Bureaucrats as Governors
Bong age in Raisina Hills could be in offing 

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