Amid speculations around, Uttar Pradesh BJP appointed MLC AK Sharma as vice president of the party's state unit on Saturday. With Uttar Pradesh slated to go to polls next year, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to strengthen the party's organisation in the state.
Arvind Kumar Sharma, one of the trusted bureaucrats of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had generated curiosity in political circles after he joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh on January 14, days after seeking voluntary retirement.
Who is Arvind Kumar Sharma?
Born in Uttar Pradesh’s Mau district in 1962, Sharma did schooling from his home district before graduating from Allahabad University. He did masters in Political Science before joining the civil services in 1988. As an IAS office with the Gujarat cadre, his first posting was as a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM). In 1995, he took charge as district magistrate, Mehsana. In 2001, Sharma joined Modi’s chief minister’s office in Gujarat as a secretary and remained there till 2014 before shifting to the Centre.
He is said to have coordinated the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’, a biennial investor summit that played a significant role in bringing in foreign investment to Gujarat. Sharma is also said to have played a key role in getting the Tata Nano plant moved from Singur in West Bengal to Sanand in Gujarat in 2008.
Arvind Kumar in Prime Minister's office
Sharma has been associated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he became the chief minister of Gujarat in 2001. Sharma was secretary to the then Gujarat chief minister Modi and joined the prime minister’s office (PMO) as a joint secretary when Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014.
Mr Sharma remained CM Modi’s secretary until 2014 when Modi became the Prime Minister. While he joined the PMO as a joint secretary in 2014, he was elevated to the additional secretary rank in 2017.
In May 2020, Arvind Sharma was given the charge of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) ministry, the sector affected badly due to pandemic.
Apart from AK Sharma, Archana Mishra and Amit Balmiki have been appointed as the Pradesh Mantris.
Elections to 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh are due in 2022. In 2017, the BJP had registered a landslide victory polls winning over 300 seats. The Assembly polls will be the biggest litmus test of the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha constituencies, the highest amongst all states.