In yet another incident of bureaucrats entering politics, a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now been named as the Vice President of BJP's Uttar Pradesh state unit. The development has come when the state has been reeling towards the assembly polls in which incumbent Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath seeks another term in office.
According to reports, BJP's Uttar Pradesh state unit has on Saturday appointed its state MLC and former IAS Officer AK Sharma as its state vice president. Sharma is known to be close to the Prime Minister and the former bureaucrat was in Modi's good book when the latter was serving as the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
BJP UP State president Swatantra Dev Singh had made the announcement of the new appointment. In an official statement, Singh had also announced the appointments of Archana Mishra from Lucknow and Amit Valmiki from Bulandshahr as the secretaries of the state unit. AK Sharma's appointment has drawn huge attention from across the nation.
AK Sharma was known for delivering effective and time-bound results and he had garnered Modi's confidence as his secretary during his tenure as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. AK Sharma had caught the eyes of Modi by successfully handling the Vibrant Gujarat campaign to earn investments to the state.
AK Sharma was also handling the MSME ministry's affairs which is a notable department working under the Prime Minister's plan for the revival of the economy after it had plummeted in the wake of the lockdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharma was born in the Muhammadabad area in the Mau district of Uttar Pradesh on April 11, 1962.
He did his schooling from the Mau district and earned a post-graduation degree from Allahabad University. He had joined the civil services after his post-graduation in 1988 and, as an IAS Officer with the Gujarat cadre, his first posting was as a Sub-Divisional Magistrate. In 1995, he had taken charge as District Magistrate in Mehsana, a city in Gujarat.
He also had served as the rehabilitation commissioner for the Sardar Sarovar project on River Narmada. When Narendra Modi had become the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he picked AK Sharma as his secretary. After joining the Chief Minister's Office in 2001, Sharma had coordinated with Modi's 'Vibrant Gujarat' project, which brought the investments worth $14 billion to the state.
AK Sharma was brought from Gujarat to Delhi after Modi became the Prime Minister. Modi had assumed the office of the Prime Minister on May 26, 2014, and Sharma's appointment to the Prime Minister's Office was signed on May 30 and by June 3, Sharma had taken the charge as the joint secretary in the Prime Minister's Office, which had shown the amount of loyalty Sharma had on Modi.
Sharma had joined the BJP this year January and days after joining the Central ruling party, he had taken voluntary retirement from the IAS. He was then elected as the Member of Legislative Council in BJP's ticket in Uttar Pradesh and earlier, there were speculations that AK Sharma would be inducted to the Uttar Pradesh government in a possible cabinet expansion or rejig ahead of the next year's assembly polls.
Sharma had recently visited Delhi and met the Central leadership of the party and his visit has fueled the speculations about his political prospects. Amid such speculations, Modi's trusted aide, Sharma has now been appointed as the Vice-President of Uttar Pradesh's BJP unit. With the new post, the former bureaucrat will play a significant role in BJP's campaign in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.