The moment Ram Nath Kovind was elected the President of India, the Prime Minister’s Office, without losing time, appointed the officers in the President House’s secretariat. Everybody was surprised as no one was given any time to lobby for the coveted posts. The way these official were appointed, it shows the foresight of the PMO. It has been a long journey for Sanjay Kothari, a 1978-batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, who has become Secretary to the President. He belongs to a middle-class family and has seen many ups and down in life. A simple, warm, and affectionate civil servant, he is hard working, and has a passion for details. He has survived the transition of power at Raisina Hills. He has served as Secretary, DoPT, which is considered an important post in the PMO. He directly served the Prime Minister, and his direct boss, Thakur Jitendra Singh, the Minister for DoPT. Kothari is also considered to be close to PK Misra, additional principal secretary to the Prime Minister. He was appointed as the Chairman of the Public Enterprises Selection Board, and succeeded former Cabinet Secretary, AK Seth. It was a tough choice to find a successor for Venu Rajamony, an efficient IFS officer and former Press Secretary to the President. But the choice of Ashok Malik as Press Secretary to President is an appropriate decision. Malik is well known in the media fraternity and has worked with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 2014 parliamentary elections. Malik was Distinguished Fellow at Observer Research Foundation (ORF, is a Mukesh Ambani-controlled policy think tank). He was the head of ORF’s Neighbourhood Regional Studies Initiative. Another confidante of the Prime Minister, Bharat Lal, has been appointed Joint Secretary. Lal, a 1988-batch officer of Indian Forest Service, was serving as Resident Commissioner of the Gujarat government between 2010 and 2014. During the period, he was Modi’s pointsman in Delhi. In 2014, he was a serious contender for the post of Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office.
VOL. 11 | ISSUE 5 | AUGUST 2017