Arvind Kumar Sharma, a trusted aide of Prime Minister Modi and former IAS officer, has been named as a candidate for the Member of Legislative Council in Uttar Pradesh by BJP. AK Sharma took voluntary retirement from the post of Secretary of the Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and joined BJP a few weeks ago. He will now be working closely with CM Yogi Adityanath.
A Gujarat cadre IAS Officer who hails from Uttar Pradesh, AK Sharma has been a trusted aide of Prime Minister Modi since the days when he was in Gujarat. When Modi became Prime Minister in 2014, Sharma was moved to Prime Minister’s office and has managed many key projects of the Modi government since then.
AK Sharma has now been moved to Uttar Pradesh to help Yogi Adityanath with Uttar Pradesh assembly elections of 2022. Uttar Pradesh being the largest state of the country is most important for any party and therefore every party that is a key player in the state will throw all its weight in the 2022 assembly election.
The assembly elections in the state are just 1 year away and BJP is known for preparation in advance, as seen in the West Bengal assembly election, Tamil Nadu assembly election or the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Election. So, being true to its nature, the saffron party has started preparation for the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly election by bringing AK Sharma to the front.
In the last four years, the Uttar Pradesh government has performed excellently as far as law and order is concerned. Moreover, the Yogi Adityanath government has been aggressive in attracting investment and companies in Uttar Pradesh, with offers of tax incentive and hassle-free land allocation from the pool created by the government. Many national and international companies committed investment in the state and many opened their factories or offices in the cities of Uttar Pradesh.
On the welfare part, Yogi government has moved most of the subsidies on Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) theme and a large number of people get money directly in their bank accounts from the state. The state government has also been proactive in the implementation of the central government schemes and ensured that every eligible person of the state gets the benefits of welfare programs like Ayushman Bharat or PM-KISAN Scheme.
However, despite the tremendous efforts and the Yogi government to improve the political economy and law and order in the state, the party needs a strategist to win the elections. In 2017, the saffron party came to power in Uttar Pradesh after one and a half-decade, thanks to the popularity of Prime Minister Modi and political management of the then party chief Amit Shah.
In the 2022 assembly election Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah might not be able to micromanage the campaign, and therefore they have sent the confidante, AK Sharma, for the same. The popularity of the CM Yogi Adityanath is very high but the party needs a political manager to carry out the task which Amit Shah – who will not be able to micromanage the elections due to portfolio in the central government- did during the last assembly election and this duty will be probably delegated to Arvind Kumar Sharma this time.
Moreover, AK Sharma might be allocated key ministries in the next Modi government. The Modi government has already allotted key ministries to trusted bureaucrats like S Jainshankar (Foreign affairs) and Hardeep Puri (Urban affairs) in the union government, and the same might be followed in the key states like Uttar Pradesh.