New Innings : Diplomats Turning Neta Puts Party Workers In Quandary

In yet another surprise move, the BJP announced former Indian envoy to US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, joining the party and contesting from his hometown Amritsar. Immediately after the joining ceremony, Sandhu said that Prime Minister Modi is a development-focused leader and that this development should reach his native place, Amritsar. Sandhu joins the long list of foreign diplomats serving the party. To name a few, S.Jaishanker, currently the Foreign Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister, Satya Pal Singh, former IPS, LS MP from Baghpat in 2014 and 2019, Ashwini Vaishnaw Former IAS, and Raiway Minister, so on so forth..

Sandhu was relieved of his duties in February this year after he retired as the Indian envoy to the US. He assumed charge as the Indian Ambassador to the United States in February 2020, with an immediate task of then-President Donald Trump’s India visit, followed by keeping up the momentum in bilateral ties. He is one of the most experienced Indian diplomats in US affairs, having served in the Indian Mission in Washington, DC, twice earlier.

Soon after joining , Sandhu said, “In the last 10 years, I have worked closely with PM Modi’s leadership, especially in the relationship with the United States and Sri Lanka. PM Modi is development-focused. Development is very much needed today and this development should reach Amritsar too. So, I thank the party president, the Prime Minister, Home Minister who encouraged me for the new path of service to the nation that I am entering.”

He further added, “There has been a transformation in India-US relations in the past 4 years. It has transformed from a relationship to a partnership. India has received investments in many areas. Opportunities are created for the youth. I am concerned that Amritsar should not miss the opportunities the country is getting… The party will decide if I will contest the elections or not. My hometown, Amritsar, has a lot of potential and I am very affectionate towards it.”

Earlier, he was the First Secretary (Political) at the Embassy of India, Washington, DC, responsible for liaison with the United States Congress from 1997 to 2000. He has also been at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, New York, from July 2005 to February 2009. Sandhu came to Washington from Sri Lanka, where he had a remarkably successful tenure as the High Commissioner from January 2017 to January 2020. He was the Consul General of India in Frankfurt from September 2011 to July 2013.

Besides this, he has worked in the Ministry of External Affairs in various capacities – as Joint Secretary (United Nations) from March 2009 to August 2011; and later as Joint Secretary (Administration), heading the Human Resource Division.

Undoubtedly, a decorated officer, but it leaves a many in or outside the party pondering upon the future of other party leaders who have given their blood and sweat in building the party. Seeing the long list of bureaucrats (latest rumour of Harsh Vardhan Shringla joining!), there might be questions about the political acumen required to run the party, or will it be the bureaucrats without any political background running the show!

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