Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pulok Chatterji has leftist leanings, never too enthusiastic about PM’s US focus, claims Baru book

Pulok Chatterji (right) with Manmohan Singh
IF Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s former media adviser Sanjaya Baru is to be believed, “affable, pipe-smoking and understated” Pulok Chatterji has leftist leanings. That’s not all. Baru’s new book, “The Accidental Prime Minister” also claims that Chatterji, thanks to his leftist leanings, was never too enthusiastic about Dr Singh’s focus on improving relations with US, a serious charge hurled against one of the top bureaucrats of UPA’s rule for the last 10 years. In UPA-I, Chatterji was a powerful…
joint secretary monitoring the implementation of National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP), which was a set of joint objectives of the then coalition government. Chatterji drew his power, and that applies even today, from his proximity to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. He has always been the PMO’s link with 10 Janpath, the official residence of Mrs Gandhi.
Those are known facts in the corridor. But how come former PMO insider Baru says Chatterji has leftist leanings? Baru claims that whenever Chatterji had no meetings, he would prefer to be confined to his room in the South Block, rarely traveling outside Delhi. “During my time in the PMO, the only occasion on which I found him keen on accompanying the PM was when Dr Singh went to Cuba,” Baru says. By the way, Cuba, the island nation in the Caribbean, has been steadfastly following leftist ideology when capitalism has demolished Marxism in many parts of the world.
But Baru goes on to say something more. “With leftist leanings, Pulok was never too enthusiastic about Dr Singh’s focus on improving relations with the US,” he says in his book.
In fact, Chatterji was appointed as executive director of the World Bank and got shifted to Washington DC at the fag end of the UPA-I, only to be returned as principal secretary to PM in the middle of UPA-II.
Meanwhile, PMO reacted sharply to Baru's book saying that it is an “attempt to misuse a privileged position and access to high office to gain credibility to apparently exploit it for commercial gain.”
Significantly, Baru’s book narrates the leftist past of PM’s current adviser and the then principal secretary to PM TKA Nair too. Nair was a member of the CPI (M)’s Students Federation of India (SFI) during his student days in Kerala, the book says. Baru further claims, Nair revived those leftist ties by becoming close to senior CPI (M) leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet who hailed from Punjab, Nair’s cadre in IAS. “Proximity to Surjeet served Nair well, earning him a place in Gujral’s PMO”, as Gujral and Surjeet, both Punjabis, were close friends too. The book further claims that in UPA-I, Nair used his association with Surjeet and CPI (M) leader from Kerala SR Pillai, to help Manmohan Singh manage the Left. For the record, the Left support was crucial for the very survival of Singh-led UPA-I government.


  1. After reading the book the only conclusion that can be reached is contacts, contacts and only contacts. unfortunately the only thing that works in congress rule is who knows whom. this is the only way posts could be angled. if person has no contacts he becomes an instant laughing stock. had all posts been filled up on merit, say by an interview of 10 officers for the post of cabinet secretary, secretaries to GOI etc then such state of affairs would not happen. bureaucracy is comfortable with congress, it has mastered the art of sycophancy which congresswallahs love. high time written competitive examinations were held followed by interview for all promotions and deputations in Government of India. UPSC should chalk out online examination schedule and all officers must score a high percentage. results and scores to me made public. This Bhai Bhatijawad should come to an end. Let Merit rule.
    Dimpy Chopra

  2. How many times one can ask merit to rule. the UPSC exam already decides merit and on another post of the same blog people are complaining about IAS officers getting priority in Job. IAS is the topper on exam and interview process.

    Taking your view of exams for every thing people will give exams only and will do no work.

  3. Already no work is being done.

  4. Why are IAS officers so much afraid to give examinations for every promotion? Do they think that by qualifying just one examination no one should test their knowledge and capability? In the Armed Forces every officer has to appear in an examination then why not Babus? An online exam is an excellent idea. UPSC is requested to examine this proposal. If exam are held Babus will concentrate on reading rules, updating knowledge. Now they have free time and indulge in dirty tricks. If Politicians can undergo grind of facing tough elections every 5 years why not IAS Officers. At least it will end intrigues & lobbying. Merit will become priority.
    Dimpy Chopra

  5. Let me give an example:-

    The rank of Joint Secretary, GOI is equivalent to rank and pay (SAG) scale of Major General rank in Army/Air Force/Navy.

    An officer in armed forces take almost 33 years to get to this rank. Officers in Group A civil services namely Central Secretariat Service, IES, ISS, IRS, IDAS and others take almost 27 to 28 years of service to get promoted. Some of the Group A take even 33 to 34 years of service to get promoted to this rank and scale.

    How is it that only IAS officers are promoted to JS, GOI (SAG) scale only after 19 to 22 years of service?