currently chief principal secretary to Gujarat chief minister, could become the principal secretary to prime minister. Kailashnathan, a Tamilian settled in Kerala, is a 1979 batch retired IAS officer who often flies with Modi in his 13-seater private jet to finalize his speeches on board. Kailashnathan, who has worked closely with Modi for almost a decade, retired as additional chief secretary of the Gujarat government in May 2013 but he was reemployed on a contract basis for two more years in chief minister’s officer with a new designation: chief principal secretary.
Ahead of 2012 Gujarat assembly elections, the Congress appealed to the Election Commission to shift Kailashnathan out of chief minister’s office, accusing him of misusing the government machinery to promote Modi’s political cause. Post retirement, Kailashnathan became out and out a political strategist for Modi helping his boss to assert the claim of BJP’s prime ministerial nominee and then in making forays into the southern states where the BJP has limited presence.
A post graduate in chemistry from Madras University, and then an MA in economics from UK’s University of Wales, Kailashnathan held a number of key infrastructure positions in the government of Gujarat that impressed Modi. As the chief executive officer of Gujarat Maritime Board, Kailashnathan was instrumental in privatisation of ports. He served as Ahmedabad’s municipal commissioner and also principal secretary in the state urban development department. He was also the managing director of Gujarat State Financial Services Ltd.
In many of Modi’s political rallies, the BJP prime ministerial candidate talked about the state’s drinking water pipelines of humongous scale and size. And it was Kailashnathan who played a key role in setting up the drinking water pipeline grid in Gujarat.
The other influential bureaucrats in Modi’s inner-circuit include state principal secretary GC Murmu (1985 batch IAS), additional principal secretary AK Sharma (1988 batch IAS) and additional secretary Vijay Nehra (2001 batch IAS, ex-Vadodara collector), just to name a few. Murmu was so close to Modi that Central Bureau of Investigation made it a point to question him in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
AK Sharma, on the other hand, was a force behind 1980 batch IAS Maheshwar Sahu’s effort to make Vibrant Gujarat’ summit a world class event. Sharma helped Sahu, now retired, in his capacity as chief executive officer of the Gujarat State Infrastructure Board.
The other officials who are said to be close to Modi also include Raj Kumar (1987 batch IAS), D Jagatheesa Pandiyan (1981 batch IAS), Guruprasad Mohapatra (1986 batch IAS, current Municipal Commissioner, Ahmedabad), and the officer known for his urban development initiative in Gujarat, IP Gautam.
According to some media reports, PK Misra who was union agriculture secretary and principal secretary Modi till 2004, could also emerge as a front-runner for the coveted post of principal secretary to PM, if Modi becomes the Prime Minister.