From S Jaishankar to Brajesh Mishra, 5 diplomats who took plunge into politics
Janata Dal (United)’s expulsion of Pavan Varma, a diplomat-turned-politician, has brought back the spotlight on officers that have given in to the call of politics. However, the fate of these politicians have been varied.
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar: An IFS officer of the 1977 cadre, with diplomatic experience in United States and China, Jaishankar is currently the external affairs minister, taking over from Sushma Swaraj. Nine months after he was sworn in, he has his task cut out, with managing the international fallout of the implementation of the government’s domestic ideological agenda.
Hardeep Singh Puri: Another current Union minister, Puri was a 1974-batch IFS officer, sworn-in along with Jaishankar. He is currently in the eye of a storm after he advised airlines as the country’s aviation minister to ban comic Kunal Kamra for heckling journalist Arnab Goswami on a flight.
Meira Kumar: An 1977-batch IFS officer, Kumar was the Speaker of the 15th Lok Sabha, and a Union minister prior to that in the UPA government as the social justice and empowerment and water resources minister. After her tenure as Speaker ended, Kumar was the presidential candidate of the Opposition parties in the 2017 presidential campaign, in which President Ram Nah Kovind emerged as the winner.
Natwar Singh: An IFS officer of the 1953 batch, Natwar Singh was the external affairs minister in 1986 and then in 2004. In his first stint, he had to resign from office in 18 months after he was named, along with the Congress, in the Oil for Food scam by the Paul Volcker committee. After his second stint, also marred with controversies and allegations of scams, he quit the Congress party in a BJP rally, but choose to join the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 2008. He was expelled from BSP four months later, and then retired from public life.
Brajesh Mishra: An IFS officer of the 1951 batch, Mishra left the government when he had a disagreement with prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1981 and joined the UN. He then joined the BJP in 1991, and later quit the party to assume the position of the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998, and later the first National Security Advisor. In the Vajpayee cabinet, he held an influential role, considered more powerful than cabinet ministers. He had a fallout with the BJP later.