HomeBureaucracyMan of All Seasons Sehgal to hang his boots only to leave...

Man of All Seasons Sehgal to hang his boots only to leave behind unmatched imprints, may soon be back in action in other role

By Ram Kumar Kaushik

At an age of 60 with 6'4 inches stellar frame, Navneet Sehgal stands taller than his height. His achievements as an astute administrator elevate him further. For the unversed, Sehgal is a 1988 batch officer, who has a rare distinction of being the ‘Man Friday' of all the three chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh – Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and Yogi Adityanath – who had been at the helm over last 16 years.

Strange it may sound but he juggled extremely well in maintaining delicate balance between three extremely antagonising ideologies in politically charged environment. His loyalty to the chair never trembled even at the time when he was cornered by one CM for being the ‘declared' confidante of the outgoing CM.

Whatever assignment was given to him he delivered with elan to win the confidence of CM. Even when he was relegated to handling an obscure Dharmarth Karya (religious affairs) department during first year of Akhilesh government.

Unperturbed, there also he initiated a number of programmes like taking old and poor on state-sponsored pilgrimages, endearing himself to the Government.

“During the term of Mayawati (2007-2012), the reins of government was completely in the hands of Sehgal, who as to CM was handling 22 departments including important departments of power, water and industry.

When Akhilesh came in power, he literally fell to nadir. But as unfazed as ever he bounced back strongly with his work to become cynosure of Akhilesh's eyes,” said a senior bureaucrat who has ideological differences with Sehgal but admires his spirit.

After living a couple of years in oblivion during Akhilesh government as a punishment for being Mayawati's trouble-shooter, Sehgal's capability forced Yadav to bring him back in the mainstream when Uttar Pradesh bled hard with the infamous 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.

Akhilesh looked up to Sehgal for bailing his government out of the situation, which had brought much bad publicity. Akhilesh made him the incharge of public relation and information. The go-getter Sehgal started giving results and soon entered the coterie of Akhilesh. From managing good press to executing the key projects of Akhilesh like Lucknow-Noida Expressway, Sehgal had his signature writ large on every important task.

From Samajwadi colour to Yogi's saffron

Once again time came when Sehgal was shunted out in 2017 March after Yogi took oath. Sehgal was given the charge of Khadi and village industries along with the MSME department. Sehgal through his innovative approach and never-say-die spirit continued to deliver desired results.

During Corona period, CM Yogi Adityanath witnessed his exemplary working style to ward off the pandemic fear. Sehgal's undulating performance won him a place in the heart of Yogi. He started believing him and entrusted him once again with the coveted department of public relations and information.

The situation then was delicate with media and public raising finger at the failure of Yogi government in dealing with the Hathras gang followed by murder of a dalit girl. Showing his dexterity in handling media, Sehgal again cleared the test with flying colours to become one of the most powerful bureaucrats in Yogi raj.

The road ahead

Bureaucrats like Sehgal never retire. Experts say that Sehgal will soon be inducted at senior position in BJP government or may fight parliamentary elections. Looking at his 35 years long illustrious career, it's evident that one can't keep Sehgal from action for long. He is born to hog limelight. He is fit in the role of trouble shooter – a role he played extremely well in steering three successive governments.

“Sehgal is quite affable. He doesn't consider anyone to be enemy. That helps him break the shackle and work without any binding. He is Man of All Seasons and loyal to the chair irrespective of who sits on it. That's why he successfully handled Mayawati, Akhilesh and Yogi – all of them with different temperaments – to put Uttar Pradesh on the development map,” said Rashesh , a political observer.

Ramkumar Kaushik
Ramkumar Kaushikhttps://www.thebuckstopper.com/
Ram Kumar Kaushik is a seasoned journalist with over 25 years of experience across mediums. The architect of this news website, he is also a consultant with several media groups. He was formerly the group managing editor of ITV Network (NewsX, India News and The Sunday Guardian) and its digital products.
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