Power games | New Cabinet Secretary: Raj Kumar, Somanathan, Krishnan lead the race

Power games | New Cabinet Secretary: Raj Kumar, Somanathan, Krishnan lead the race

Somanathan has also worked in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s PMO and is widely appreciated for his sagacity.

New Cabinet Secretary

Raj Kumar, Somanathan, Krishnan lead the race

The Union government may soon appoint a new Cabinet Secretary to take over from the incumbent Rajiv Gauba, who is due to complete his extended term next month. Sources said there are three clear frontrunners for the post. The names of Finance Secretary T V Somanathan and MEITY Secretary S Krishnan have been doing the rounds for some time. But a new contender has entered the race, who many say could prove to be the dark horse.

This new entrant in the race to be the next Cabinet Secretary is Gujarat Chief Secretary Raj Kumar, who has worked with Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary P K Mishra and is known to be close to the regime. Somanathan has also worked in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s PMO and is widely appreciated for his sagacity.

The Delhi-educated Krishnan, with his command over Hindi, a much valued quality in this regime, and an impeccable career record comes from Rajiv Gauba mould of being in demand by all. The race for the top bureaucratic job of the country is getting interesting by the day.

Modi-Putin Meet

PM’s naval entourage signals new delivery

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Russia on July 8-9 for a bilateral summit with President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders will discuss many business, finance and defence-related issues. According to sources, the Prime Minister will be accompanied by a large delegation from the Indian Navy comprising over two hundred personnel.

The naval delegation is likely to visit Krasnodar, which is home to Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet and has one of the largest ports of the country - Novorossiysk. Sources said India is likely to take delivery of one of the two Russia-made warships, which is part of a four-warship deal signed in the year 2018. Two ships are being built in Russia and two in India with Russian support.

Besides the naval delegation, the Prime Minister is also accompanied by the chairman of ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL). The company has to settle a pending payment issue with its longstanding Russian partner Rosneft. The two companies had joined hands in 2001 when OVL acquired 20% stake in Russia’s Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project. The company hopes to find ways to settle the account which has faced trouble due to US sanctions.

Jharkhand Switchover

Congress support for Hemant nixed Champai revolt

The return of Hemant Soren as chief minister of Jharkhand after his release from jail on bail was not a smooth affair. JMM veteran Champai Soren was not keen to vacate the chief minister’s post. He told people close to him that it was after a long struggle in life that he reached this position. He even hinted at revolting against the party if he was pushed out of the chief ministerial chair.

He said if he were removed, he would go to Jamshedpur, talk to his family, and start a new chapter in life. A revolt appeared imminent. But the JMM’s coalition partner, Congress’ unequivocal support for the return of Hemant Soren as the chief minister took the wind out of Champai’s sail. The Congress leadership said the people’s mandate was for Hemant and the party supports his return.

Congress leaders also spoke to MLAs considered close to Champai and advised them against rocking the boat on the eve of the state election. Hemant himself reached out to Champai to placate him. The opposition BJP tried to fish in troubled waters. But the strong relation between Congress and Hemant saved the day for the latter.

Shahid Faridi
The writer is Resident Editor
TNIE, New Delhi.
Follow him on X @Shahid_Faridi

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