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President’s term in last lap, Pranab’s trusted lieutenants take up new roles

President Pranab Mukherjee said this week that almost all of the team that came with him to the Rashtrapati Bhavan seven years ago has now left

india Updated: May 26, 2017 19:25 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Pranab Mukherjee,Indian President,Bureaucracy
Pranab Mukherjee took oath as the 13th President of India in July , 2012.(PTI FILE PHOTO)

New Delhi Pranab Mukherjee moved into the Rastrapati Bhavan as the 13th President of India’s in the summer of 2012.

Along with him were a battery of bureaucrats who made up the President’s Office, handling tasks such as planning the President’s foreign engagements and liaisoning with the government.

This week, the President — whose term ends soon — said that most of his original team in Rashtrapati Bhavan has moved on.

“Almost all officers who came with me to Rashtrapati Bhavan have left. Two of them are back to foreign service. One is now posted in World Bank. I wish them all the best”, Mukherjee, a former Union minister in the Congress government, said at the farewell function of Venu Rajamony on Thursday.

Rajamony had been one of the President’s most trusted lieutenants.

Another key aide, Pradip Gupta, was first to leave Rashtrapati Bhavan last year. Gupta was with Mukherjee from his days as defence minister and had been handling all the GoM-related matters till Mukherjee resigned as finance minister.

After Gupta, Suresh Yadav —who joined Mukherjee during his finance ministry days — left. Yadav is now in Washington DC as a special envoy for India.

Gayatri, also a Indian Foreign Services officer, went back to her parent cadre after handling Mukherjee’s foreign engagements and related issues in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

And just a few months ago, Mukherjee’s private secretary Rajneesh, got promoted and joined the Union commerce ministry. “my private secretary is now in commerce ministry,” Mukherjee said at Venu’s farewell.

The President’s oldest lieutenant, Omita Paul, however is still with Mukherjee. Paul, a former information service officer, had been Mukherjee’s eyes and ears for more than 20 years, since Mukherjee was the deputy chairman Planning Commission during Narsimha Rao government.

After July 25, Mukherjee is set to shift to a spacious bungalow in the capital’s Rajaji Marg. The bungalow, which was also the home of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, is being refurbished to welcome the new former President.

First Published: May 26, 2017 13:27 IST