Those outside Kolkata’s corridors of power are not very familiar with Sanyal, the new poster-boy of India’s babudom. In June 2009, Sanyal became joint secretary in food processing ministry. But this Central Secretariat Service officer fast-tracked his career once he landed up in Rail Bhawan as OSD to Mamata Banerjee. Once Ms Banerjee became chief minister of West Bengal, Sanyal too took a flight to Kolkata. He retired, but Didi stunned the IAS lobby by keeping Sanyal as her key secretary. There were rumours that Sanjay Mitra, former PMO official would move to chief minister’s office as secretary to CM after Sanyal’s retirement. But that did not happen.
Secretary to CM in any state is a highly powerful post, but in case of West Bengal it commands a lot of respects too. After all, some of the distinguished bureaucrats held that rank in the state. For example, bureaucrats like Bhaskar Ghose (who later become information and broadcasting secretary), Subir Dutta (later became Union defence secretary) and SN Menon (became Union commerce secretary) were all secretaries to CM.In October 2011, BoI wrote: “Gautam Sanyal to Mamata is what Pulok Chatterji is to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Sanyal is Mamata’s Pulok”.