NEW DELHI: National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and RSS supported Vivekananda Institute together constitute a deadly placement agency for senior bureaucrats in Delhi today. Anil Baijal with a close assocation with both is the new Delhi Lt Governor replacing Najeeb Jung who resigned recently.

Few remember that when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had won the elections and was in the process of setting up his team he had met Doval, but also followed this up with a long meeting with Baijal. Clearly this 1969 batch IAS officer did not meet the cut, and Doval who was also the chairman of the Vivekananda Institute was brought in as the NSA. A position in which he has grown from strength to strength determining important appointments, from the new Army chief who is also from Garhwal, to sensitive appointments in the intelligence agencies. As a retired bureaucrat said Doval is the one man Minstry of Personnel in this government.

Baijal has been close to the PMO since 2014. He has been in close touch with Doval and others, and just last year was appointed to head a high level committe to suggest measures for monitoring of Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) initiatives taken by India Inc. It recommended leniency for companies not compying with the CSR provisions ofthe Companies Act 2013. He had worked with Bharti Corporation after retirement.

Baijal has been with the Vivekananda Institute and although not cleared by PM Modi for a post within the government has been hovering around for Governorships of some import. For instance he was considered for the Jammu and Kashmir Governor, to replace the current incumbent NN Vohra who has managed to survive in both governments. However, the violence after Burhan Wani’s killing stayed this move, more so after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also made it clear that Governor Vohra’s experience in and on Kashmir could not be dispensed with at this stage.

Baijal has now been brought in as the Delhi Lt Governor, a post that is certainly not seen as ceremonial by the present dispensation. He is, unlike Jung, an official from within as it were with close working relationship with Doval. As a senior in government said, “he enjoys the confidence of the Modi government and that is the major difference between him and Jung who followed orders, but never really got the trust he seemed to want.”

Jung had managed to cut down the powers of the Delhi government by the book, to a point where Aam Aadmi party leaders had openly wondered why the people of Delhi had been even made to go through the exercise of electing their own government, when it was not allowed to function. AAP leaders are understandably apprehensive of the new appointment, as Baijal has never really bothered to hide his political affiliations. And is expected to follow PM Modi and Doval’s instructions without demur.

Baijal was earlier the Union Home Secretary, being appointed just before the elections in 2004 that brought the Congress led UPA government to power. He was handpicked by then Deputy Prime Minister L.K.Advani and supported by several other leaders in the BJP at the time including Sushma Swaraj. The BJP that had expected to return to power after the polls missed, and the new government replaced Baijal at the first opportunity as he was seen as too close for comfort to Advani and the BJP.

Baijal has the record of a successful bureaucrat, going through the gamut of important ministries, and corporates after retirement. He has experience in the field that will make an asset in the current job, and is well regarded by the currrent establishment. He is low key despite the seniority, and as pointed out earlier has an excellent rapport with the NSA who is handling all matters of import in this government.

AAP can be assured of sleepless nights.