After keeping everyone guessing for a while, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Thursday finally chose his team of aides. Sanjeev Kaushal, a 1986-batch IAS officer, was appointed as the principal secretary to the chief minister (PSCM).
A 1990-batch woman IAS officer, Sumita Misra Singh and a 1997-batch IAS officer, Rakesh Gupta were appointed as additional principal secretaries to the chief minister. A BJP Kisan Morcha leader, Jawahar Yadav was appointed as the officer on special duty (OSD) to the chief minister.
The delay in the appointment of the chief minister's aides had created disorder and confusion in the functioning of the new government. It had also set off wild theories of Gujarat cadre IAS officers being considered for key appointments in the chief minister's office. A 1997-batch IAS officer, Pradeep Kasni, who was able to gain proximity to Khattar, had started functioning as his aide in a self-styled manner even before Khattar was sworn in. But signs were ominous for such self-styled aides when the chief minister asked the two aides of the former chief minister to continue functioning till the time he gets his own team constituted.
By appointing Kaushal (50), considered a proficient and a no-nonsense officer in the cadre, as his top aide the chief minister has given a clear signal that he means business. The officer has a vast experience having worked as additional principal secretary to chief minister in the INLD-BJP government; director, public relations; joint secretary in Union ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises; managing director of Haryana Power Generation Corporation Ltd; principal secretary, finance and planning and most recently principal secretary, public works department.
Sumita Misra Singh (47) is the only second woman IAS officer in Haryana to have been appointed as an aide of a chief minister. The first was 1981-batch IAS officer Anuradha Gupta who was appointed as additional PSCM to former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Earlier, Singh has worked as administrator, Haryana Urban Development Authority; director, agriculture; director, women and child development; chief electoral officer, transport commissioner and managing director, Haryana Tourism.
The third IAS officer appointed in the chief minister's office (CMO), Rakesh Gupta (42) specialises in the health sector having worked as mission director, National Rural Health Mission, and commissioner, Department of Food and Drug Administration, for long. Gupta has also done PhD in health from John Hopkins University, United States. He has served as deputy commissioner of Rohtak, Karnal, Gurgaon and Faridabad.