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Gandhi family loyalist joins PMO

In New Delhi on October 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm

 

Pulok Chatterjee

Chatterjee, known for his allegiance to the ‘first family’ of the Congress, will replace T K A Nair as the principal secretary to the prime minister on Monday. Nair, however, will continue in the PMO as an advisor to the prime minister for about a month to ensure a smooth transition.

A 1975-batch Indian Administrative Service officer, Chatterjee was an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, when she was the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha during the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition’s stint in power at the Centre. He is also underst­o­od to have overseen all ar­rangements for Gandhi’s rec­e­nt treatment in an un­disc­l­osed healthcare facility in the US.

Chatterjee has been an Executive Director for India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka at the World Bank in Washington DC. His term at the World Bank was scheduled to end in 2012, but he was asked to come back to New Delhi and take up the new assignment, ostensibly because Gandhi hers­elf wanted him to be at the PMO.

He is taking over as the principal secretary to the prime minister at a time when the beleaguered Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government is drawing flak from the BJP and other opposition parties, not only for a series of scams ranging from 2G spectrum allocations in 2007 to preparations for 2010 Commonwealth Games, but also for failing to rein in inflation.

The Prime Minister’s Office itself has come under shadow after the opposition parties targeted Singh for failing to preempt the 2G scam.

Chatterjee’s association with the Gandhis dates back to the 1980s, when the bureaucrat was appointed as the district magistrate of Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Amethi, then the parliamentary constituency of Sanjay Gandhi, had been a part of Sultanpur and the all powerful son of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi had as­ked the then chief minister V P Singh to appoint a dynamic bureaucrat at the helm of the district administration. His inte­g­r­ity and low-key style of wo­rking endeared him to Ra­jiv Gandhi, who succeeded Sa­njay as an MP from Amethi aft­er the latter’s death in June, 1983.

Chatterjee later worked in the PMO during Rajiv’s tenure as prime minister. He later se­rved in the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and, after his stint as the OSD to Sonia Gandhi, moved to the PMO when Manmohan Singh took over as the prime minister in 2004.

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via Gandhi family loyalist joins PMO.

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