In the first meeting of the ‘Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra' trust on Wednesday, Mahant Nritya Gopal Das and Champat Rai were elected as the president and general secretary respectively. However, the appointment that has garnered the most buzz is that of Nripendra Misra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s former Principal Secretary. He will head the Ram temple construction committee. As Misra was considered as the PM’s most trusted lieutenant, this move is being perceived as the PM’s attempt to personally ensure that the construction of the Ram temple goes smoothly.
A 1967-batch UP cadre officer, Misra is not only an Allahabad University graduate but also has a master's degree from Harvard University. In his career spanning 4 decades, he has served in multiple positions at the Uttar Pradesh government, Centre, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Misra was the Principal Secretary to former UP CM Kalyan Singh when the demolition of the Babri Masjid took place. He introduced the concept of ‘day officer’- a joint secretary-level officer attached to the CM on a daily basis to ensure better coordination between the Chief Minister’s Office and the government.
During his tenure as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Chairman, the 2G scam unfolded. He appeared as a prosecution witness in the special CBI court hearing the 2G scam matter. After Misra’s retirement in 2009, he made an astonishing comeback to the bureaucracy as Narendra Modi insisted on him being the Principal Secretary after assuming office in May 2014. As section 5(8) of the TRAI Act, 1997 barred any member of the TRAI from holding a subsequent government position, an ordinance was promulgated to facilitate Misra’s appointment. Misra’s tenure witnessed the emergence of the PMO as a very powerful entity. Extending his best wishes to Misra at the time of the latter’s retirement, PM Modi praised his contribution to India’s growth trajectory.
After serving the PMO assiduously and diligently for over five years and making an indelible contribution to India’s growth trajectory, Shri Nripendra Misra Ji will be embarking on a new phase of his life. My best wishes to him for his future endeavours.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 30, 2019
Shri Nripendra Misra is among the most outstanding officers, who has a great grasp of public policy and administration. When I was new to Delhi in 2014, he taught me a lot and his guidance remains extremely valuable.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 30, 2019
The PM's attachment to the cause of the construction of the Ram temple is borne out by the fact that he chose to himself make the announcement pertaining to the formation of the trust. Speaking on the floor of the Lok Sabha on February 5, he stated that it was a privilege for him to inform the people about the Cabinet's decision on the Ram temple. Furthermore, he highlighted that the Supreme Court's order would be followed in toto.