THE HIT MAN OF CONGRESS

After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, Sonia trusted only Pulok and when she became the Leader of the Opposition, appointed him as Officer on Special Duty (OSD). In his capacity as the OSD, Pulok gave Sonia all the assistance as well as information she needed. His advice convinced Sonia that this man was trustworthy. Gradually, Sonia started trusting Pulok more than the politicians around her, and she started taking political decisions on his advice.

When Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister, Yashpal Kapoor was her most trusted person. When Yashpal Kapoor got too busy with politics, his place was taken by R.K. Dhawan. Dhawan was the eyes, ears and nose of Indira Gandhi. There developed such an understanding between Dhawan and Indira Gandhi that he used to catch the purport of even the eye movements of Indira Gandhi. He knew all the gestures of Indira Gandhi so well, that he knew when she wanted tea or when she wanted coffee, or who she wanted to remain seated in her presence and who she wanted removed immediately. Mrs. Gandhi did not have to worry about anything. Dhawan used to fulfill all her wishes. He used to enforce her will in her official capacity as the Prime Minister. Dhawan also used to see that her will as the Congress President was enforced, and he also saw that her maternal responsibilities towards her children were fulfilled. From the education of Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi to charting out their professional careers, everything was scripted by Dhawan. He ensured that Sanjay Gandhi’s ambitions of launching Maruti and Rajiv Gandhi’s dream of becoming a pilot were actualised. R.K. Dhawan even today carries hundreds of secrets of Mrs. Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in the deepest recesses of his heart. Dhawan was offered temptations in many ways but he never, ever obliged anyone and stolidly refused to budge. To get a person like him is a big boon for any politician. Perhaps, every politician has only one such confidant, which is why R.K. Dhawan’s relationship with Indira Gandhi could not be replicated with either Rajiv Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi. Dhawan was the second most powerful person, next only to Indira Gandhi while she was alive.
Today, one among such powerful people is Pulok Chatterjee. He is currently working as the Principal Secretary of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. But his authority in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is not just because he is holding the post of the Principal Secretary. He has all the qualities that R.K. Dhawan had. Pulok Chatterjee is an Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer, and he first met Rajiv Gandhi when the latter was filing his nomination for the Lok Sabha. During that election Pulok was the Returning Officer by virtue of being the District Magistrate. During that election Pulok was the Returning Officer by virtue of being the District Magistrate.

The secret behind Sonia not becoming the Prime Minister is known to only three persons – Kunwar Natwar Singh, Makhan Lal Fotedar and Ahmed Patel. There is a fourth name too and that is Pulok Chatterjee who had clearly opined that Sonia must not become the Prime Minister. Pulok Chatterjee will not divulge this secret, even at the risk of his life.

Rajiv liked the sober, bespectacled and lean Pulok at the very first sight, as Rajiv felt that the eyes behind the spectacles had something that was attractive and arresting. He confided his opinion about this young officer to Sonia but when he became the Prime Minister, Arun Singh and Arun Nehru became his closest confidants. Later, Makhan Lal Fotedar stepped into their shoes. After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, Sonia trusted only Pulok and when she became the Leader of the Opposition, appointed him as Officer on Special Duty (OSD). In his capacity as the OSD, Pulok gave Sonia all the assistance as well as information she needed. His advice convinced Sonia that this man was trustworthy. Gradually, Sonia started trusting Pulok more than the politicians around her, and she started taking political decisions on his advice. During the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime, Sonia had a large posse of political advisors around her but her ultimate decisions were taken only after consulting Pulok Chatterjee. Later, this 1974-batch IAS officer became a part of the PMO at a Secretary level. Pulok Chatterjee, in his four stints with the Government of India, never served in any Ministry; he  was always a part of the PMO. In 2008, he went on deputation to Washington as an Executive Director of the World Bank for 3 years.
Pulok became the link between the government and Sonia Gandhi after Manmohan Singh became the Prime Minister. Actually, it was not Manmohan Singh who was going to be the Prime Minster. Sonia had almost accepted the coveted office of the Prime Minister. She met late V.P. Singh and late Chandra Shekhar personally and had gained their support and trust. The late V.P. Singh had rallied all the Opposition, with the exception of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), behind Sonia Gandhi.
The secret behind Sonia not becoming the Prime Minister is known to only three persons – Kunwar Natwar Singh, Makhan Lal Fotedar and Ahmed Patel. There is a fourth name too and that is Pulok Chatterjee who had clearly opined that Sonia must not become the Prime Minister. Pulok Chatterjee will not divulge this secret, even at the risk of his life.
Pulok was the link between Sonia and the PMO but he was not able to influence the policies of the government. Sonia instituted the National Advisory Council (NAC) but Manmohan Singh started working against the NAC. Gradually, on the one hand the political dialogues between Manmohan and Sonia started decreasing, while on the other three distinct power centres began to emerge in the government. Apart from Manmohan Singh, P. Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee were working as if running parallel governments. Pulok told Sonia about these pulls and counter-pulls within the government. But both Pulok and Sonia failed to influence the government because by that time Manmohan Singh had grown in stature. Pulok confined himself to taking care of the problems of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra.  The country till date does not know  when and why Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and her husband, Robert Vadra, go abroad, where they stay and when they return to the country, or whether there is any particular purpose or reason for their overseas visits. All these activities are effectively camouflaged and their successful completion is ensured by Pulok Chatterjee.
Rahul got entangled in many problems and got embroiled in many law suits but they were all handled very well by Pulok Chatterjee. Priyanka acquired lan

d in Himachal Pradesh,  built a house in this state, demolished it and then rebuilt it according to a new architectural map. The whole nation was surprised at this because in the normal course an outsider cannot acquire land in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Yet Pulok achieved this near impossible feat. When Sonia fell ill and went to London, Pulok took care of all the medical treatment even as her sister was by her side. The medical tests in London proved wrong and Sonia was advised to go to the USA for treatment. In which hospital would Sonia receive treatment, whether she would have a biopsy or undergo an operation was all decided by Pulok Chatterjee. Pulok moved so guardedly in this respect that the world did not even get a whiff of the fact that Sonia was being treated in the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), New York. The world came to know of it only when Pulok decided that it should, and only then did Janardan Dwivedi tell the nation and the world that Sonia Gandhi was ill.
By this time conditions had changed. The Congress government’s reputation was on the wane. Rahul was failing politically. The political ambitions of Robert Vadra were on the rise though it was being reported that not everything was fine between Priyanka and Robert. The government was trudging on lackadaisically and was progressively losing its impact. At this juncture Sonia decided to recall Pulok from America and appointed him as the Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister. Sonia has awakened to the possibility that her party might have problems in forming a government in 2014. Whether Rahul will emerge as a successful political leader too is doubtful. It is also doubtful to what extent will Janardan Dwivedi, Ahmed Patel and Motilal Vora be able to make Rahul successful as a political leader. Some members of the Manmohan Cabinet are investing all their efficiency in spoiling Rahul Gandhi. Under such circumstances Sonia has entrusted,

Is a bureaucrat shaping the future of the country? Will the contours of the future of the Congress be shaped by a bureaucrat? Will a bureaucrat succeed in refurbishing the image of Sonia and propping up her son as the next Prime Minister? People may have their doubts and reservations but Sonia has no doubts or questions regarding Pulok Chatterjee.

over all these people, Pulok with two responsibilities: first, to remove the stagnation and hurdles in the working of the government and transform it into a government that takes decisions speedily. And second, to ensure that Rahul acquires the image of a successful administrator. Sonia is not very pleased with the political advisors of Rahul. She thinks that it is due to these advisors that Rahul has not been able to build and project an image of a successful political leader.
The first thing that Pulok did after coming to the PMO was to displace the centre of power. Earlier, the centre of power used to be Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, a batch mate of Pulok, but now power centre has shifted to South Block, that is, to Pulok Chatterjee. Pulok has given the PMO a new face. Now, it is not Manmohan Singh who issues statements, rather it is the PMO that releases statements. Pulok has made the PMO bigger than the Prime Minister. Pulok forced Manmohan Singh to institute a Committee of Secretaries (CoS) with Pulok himself as the Chairman. Till date, there were Empowered Groups of Ministers (EGoM) but Pulok has rendered them irrelevant. Actually, till date none of the EGoMs have given any positive report. The first thing on Pulok’s agenda is to refurbish the coal and power sectors. He compelled Anil Ambani, Ratan Tata, Madhusudan Rao, Anil Agrawal and Prashant Ruia to buckle under his will. Pulok has undertaken to contain about Rs. 60,000 crores of losses incurred due to an increase in the prices of coal gas and 90,000 megawatt power projects. He has formulated a  90-day plan, a 30-day plan and a 7-day plan to deal with the problem. He has joined hands in this endeavour with the Power, Petroleum, Coal, Environment and Finance Secretaries.
The Prime Minster too is hopeful that the problem will be fixed under the leadership of Pulok Chatterjee. Pulok has also decided to give the tourism sector a makeover. He is also responsible for giving the infrastructure sector a big push so that the stagnating economy can be revived.
When the economic situation became bad in 2008, the then Cabinet Secretary, K.M. Chandrashekhar, used to take decisions. Ajit Seth, his successor too used to take decisions. T.K.A. Nair was the Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister, and thus his loyalties lay entirely with Manmohan Singh. He used to look after the personal problems of Manmohan and also invested all his energies in carrying out his wishes. It was T.K.A. Nair who maligned the image of the former Army Chief, General V.K. Singh, and he is the one to bring in General Bikram Singh as the new Army Chief. But Pulok remained aloof from all this – he is one of those officers who believes in remaining low profile and lead a sober life. He has not once come under the scanner for corruption. Although Subramanian Swamy has alleged that Pulok ill-advised the Prime Minister to go slow in the 2G Scam case, the marriage of such a highly positioned officer took place in the most common way while lesser officials celebrate such occasions with great pomp and show.
Even today the name of Pulok Chatterjee does not generally ring a bell with most  Indians, but he is working as the last hope of Sonia Gandhi. Sonia wants just two things: Manmohan government should be known as an efficient government in the country and Rahul emerges as a capable leader. For this Pulok has employed former NDTV newsman Pankaj Pachauri on the media front. Pachauri has been made the Media Advisor of the Prime Minister but instead of harnessing the media to the cause of Sonia Gandhi, Pachauri is alienating it. Not only does Pachauri look down upon the correspondents of regional media channels who accompany the Prime Minister on his foreign visits, he also humiliates them.
In view of the General Elections to be held after about 20 months, Pulok himself has jumped in to re-establish the pro-people image of the government which has reached its nadir owing to the 2G Scam and inflation. He has identified 12 areas requiring immediate attention and these will be on the top of the agenda of the government in the coming two years. Pulok Chatterjee has instructed the Ministries and top offices to submit updates in terms of status, milestones and targets achieved along with the time taken to achieve the targets. These are to help the PMO in better planning and co-ordination. Some of the top priorities of Pulok are the Lokpal Bill, Electoral Reforms, Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill and Judicial Accountability Bill.
Is a bureaucrat shaping the future of the country? Will the contours of the future of the Congress be shaped by a bureaucrat? Will a bureaucrat succeed in refurbishing the image of Sonia and propping up her son as the next Prime Minister? People may have their doubts and reservations but Sonia has no doubts or questions regarding Pulok Chatterjee.

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