Gujarat IAS officer's voluntary retirement creates buzz over role in UP politics
- The quick acceptance of his application for voluntary retirement has started a buzz in the BJP circles that Sharma may be sent to the Legislative Council in Uttar Pradesh.
Voluntary retirement of senior Gujarat cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Arvind Kumar Sharma, considered a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has led to speculations if he will play a role in Uttar Pradesh politics as the state heads towards the 2022 Assembly elections.
A 1988-batch IAS officer, Sharma hails from the Mau district in eastern UP. The central government accepted his voluntary retirement plea on Monday, when the BJP state unit was busy finalising names of candidates for the biennial election to 12 seats in the UP Legislative Council. The quick acceptance of his application for voluntary retirement has started a buzz in the BJP circles that Sharma may be sent to the Legislative Council.
BJP state unit president Swatantra Dev Singh said Sharma will join the BJP on Thursday.
Even while senior BJP leaders are maintaining a silence over Sharma’s candidature for the council, those privy to the developments on the issue said, he may be made the deputy chief minister in the Yogi Adityanath cabinet. Another view on his role suggests he may be given a key assignment at the Centre.
A senior leader, who did not wish to be named, said Sharma was from the upper caste Bhumihar community, whereas, the party was working on a strategy to win the support of Dalits and other backward castes (OBCs) to retain power in the 2022 Assembly election.
The BJP strategists wanted the elevation of a Dalit leader in the state cabinet to send a message before the elections, he said.
Another leader said that Sharma held top positions in the Gujarat government when Narendra Modi was the state’s chief minister. Later, he moved to the Prime Minister’s Office after Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014. Before taking voluntary retirement, he was handling affairs in MSME (micro small and medium enterprises), a crucial department that was working on PM Modi’s plan for revival of the economy post Covid lockdown.
Rather than state politics, Sharma may be given an important position in the central government, he said.
A postgraduate in political science from Allahabad University, Sharma is a native of Kajha Khurd village in Muhammadabad Gohna tehsil in Mau district.
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