Naga Republic News
A close aide and confidante of BJP’s National General Secretary Ram Madhav, has been appointed as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Government of Nagaland with headquarters at Nagaland House, New Delhi. Priyang Pandey’s appointment was approved by the State Cabinet and he will hold the post of OSD under Home Department.
Interestingly the request letter to appoint Priyang Pandey as OSD in the Government of Nagaland was received as early as March 2 from Nagaland’s Deputy Chief Minister who happens to be from the BJP. Accordingly, orders were issued on March 22 whereby Priyang Pandey was appointed as OSD in the Home Department.
A senior government official meanwhile expressed the view that Pandey’s appointment will hopefully be of some use for the State as he will be able to get projects cleared from the Government of India for Nagaland.
Priyang Pandey (Source: Priyang Pandey@priyangpandey)
The Naga Republic has confirmed that Priyang Pandey is a Senior Research Fellow and Project Head at India Foundation—an influential think-tank headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s son, Shaurya Doval. India Foundation is seen as close to the BJP government. Four ministers in Narendra Modi’s cabinet and important BJP functionaries serve as directors of the India Foundation, including Ram Madhav.
Nirmala Sitharaman, Suresh Prabhu, M J Akbar, and Jayant Sinha are the four ministers along with BJP’s General Secretary Ram Madhav and journalists Swapan Dasgupta, also a Rajya Sabha member, and A. Surya Prakash (head of national broadcaster Prasar Bharati). All are directors in the think-tank.
Priyang Pandey, the newly appointed OSD in the Government of Nagaland is part of the India Foundation core team. According to media reports, Priyang Pandey, a close aide of Ram Madhav, worked as a ‘backroom manager’ for the election in Nagaland. While Union Minister Kiren Rijiju was in charge of the state, the backroom was anchored by the BJP general secretary Ram Madhav’s aide and India Foundation senior fellow, Priyang Pandey.
From countering accusations of the RSS-BJP combine trying to impose a “Hindutva” agenda in the state to reaching out to various tribes and addressing their specific concerns, supplementing the campaigning on the ground with outreach through social media, Pandey and his team had their jobs cut out for them.
Visited a remote village ‘Longwa’ in the Mon district of Nagaland, it is situated on India-Myanmar border. Met many lovely villagers. pic.twitter.com/uOtLIa65Qt
— Priyang Pandey (@priyangpandey) February 13, 2018
Priyang Pandey has also been regular on twitter posting and reposting political developments related to the Nagaland government. Priyang’s areas of research are Indian economy, Geopolitical economy with special focus on socio-economic development policies and microfinance. According to information available Priyang has also contributed in prestigious think tanks like Vivekananda International Foundation. He regularly writes columns for various magazines and publications on trending issues.
— Priyang Pandey (@priyangpandey) March 17, 2018
It may be mentioned that the State Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has made a series of political appointments called tenure posts. Eleven tenure posts were approved by the Cabinet reportedly on March 27. This includes the OSD post for Priyang Pandey.
As per a Cabinet Memorandum dated March 27 signed by the Home Commissioner to the Government of Nagaland, the reason given was to facilitate the smooth functioning of the Chief Minister’s Office. The proposal for creation of ten posts along with names was received from the Chief Minister. However as already mentioned the request letter for appointment of Pandey was received from the BJP’s Deputy CM.
“These posts can be created as tenure posts and scale fixed in consultation with P&AR and Accountant General”, stated the Cabinet Memorandum.
What comes as a bit of surprise is the manner in which the OSD was appointed on March 22 itself even before the State Cabinet had decided on the creation of these posts. Also the request to appoint the OSD was made even before the newly elected government was sworn-in or appointed!
— Priyang Pandey (@priyangpandey) March 12, 2018
According to the Cabinet Memorandum of March 27, the terms and conditions for Priyang Pandey’s appointment was to be decided subsequently. “Accordingly, it is proposed to create the tenure post of OSD in Home Department as temporary measure and appoint Shri Priyang Pandey to the said post at a lump-sum honorarium of Rs 100,000/- per month”, stated the Cabinet Memorandum signed by the Home Commissioner.
Legislative party of @BJP4Nagaland met today in Dimapur, Shri Y Patton was elected unopposed as BLP leader under the supervision of Central party observers Union Minister Shri @JPNadda & National General Secretary Shri @ArunSinghbjp. pic.twitter.com/67rwoDq616
— Priyang Pandey (@priyangpandey) March 5, 2018
In the past India Foundation has come under heavy criticism for its role as a “cocktail of business and politics” with the presence of senior ministers and BJP leaders in the think-tank is “a typical example of crony capitalistic practices”. Other criticism include the potential for ‘conflict of interest’ and the India Foundation working not only as a think-tank, but “also as a cover for corporates to liaison with the government”.
With inputs from Hindustan Times and The Wire
Also see link to Cabinet Memorandum for creation of 11 Tenure Posts