Before NITI Aayog exit, Amitabh Kant ‘lobbied’ for LG post

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Photo credit Twitter Amitabh Kant

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, July 6: Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant is learnt to have lobbied to get the post of Lieutenant Governor (LG) last month when it became clear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wouldn’t be amenable to the idea of giving him another term in the think-tank panel.

Sources in the corridors of power said that Kant had been reaching out to ‘influential’ people to get the LG post of one of the Union territories.

It’s well known that the principal secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) PK Mishra had for a long time been supporting Kant. Former CEO of the NITI Aayog regularly used to meet Mishra in the PMO.

Kant is known to have acquaintances in the affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS), besides some of the influential sympathizers.

“He got a little more ambitious than he should have been as he began checking on some people if he could be considered for the LG position, preferably in Delhi. This soon reached to the higher echelons of the government, and that resulted in him getting additional term as the CEO of the NITI Aayog,” one of the sources, known to keep a check on the movements in the corridors of power, said.

Kant is well-known for his “too much of democracy” comment that he had made in his virtual interview, which he had spoken in the context of overwhelming protests against legislations brought out by the government, including the farm laws. Kant had sought to first deny the comment, but afterwards when the video of his remark trended on the social media platforms he had claimed that ‘mischievous’ interpretations were given to his statement.

Till date, his “too much of democracy” comment is a delight for cartoonists.

Kant has told the television channels after his exit from the NITI Aayog that he would be mentoring the start-ups and also write a book. He had been more seen with corporate CEOs than with the state government functionaries or the officials of the various departments of the Union government during his stint in the NITI Aayog for six years.

His tenure saw NITI Aayog, which had succeeded Planning Commission, packed with young professionals, hired on contract, in place of domain experts, which used to be the case previously.

Kant’s forte was weaving slogans, and some of the trending punchline such as ‘Make In India’, ‘$5 trillion economy’ bear his testimony, while he is also attributed to have coined ‘God’s own Country’ for Kerala tourism.

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