Arvind Kumar Sharma, one of the trusted bureaucrats of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been appointed as the new Uttar Pradesh BJP Vice President ahead of the state assembly polls scheduled to be held next year. Sharma, currently a BJP MLC from Mau, had joined the party in Uttar Pradesh on January 14 this year, days after seeking voluntary retirement.
Sharma, an IAS officer from the 1988 batch, has been close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he became Gujarat’s chief minister in 2001. Sharma served as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s secretary before joining the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as a joint secretary after Modi became Prime Minister in 2014.
A K Sharma was born in the Mau district of Uttar Pradesh in 1962 and attended school there before attending Allahabad University. Before joining the civil service in 1988, he earned a master’s degree in political science.
His first posting as an IAS officer in the Gujarat cadre was as a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM). He became the district magistrate of Mehsana in 1995. Sharma began working as a secretary in Gujarat’s chief minister’s office in 2001 and remained there till 2014, when he moved to the Centre as Modi became the Prime Minister.
Sharma has been a low-profile officer and a doer who became a go-to man for CM Modi. He is said to have organised the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ investor event, which was instrumental in attracting foreign investment to Gujarat. Sharma is also claimed to have been instrumental in the relocation of the Tata Nano facility from Singur in West Bengal to Sanand in Gujarat, in 2008.
In 2014, Sharma joined the PMO as a joint secretary and was later elevated to the additional secretary rank in 2017. In May 2020, Sharma was given the charge of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) ministry, the sector affected badly due to the COVID-19.
In January 2021, he sought retirement from the post of secretary in the ministry, one-and-a-half years before his due retirement, to join active politics. Sharma has been associated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for 18 years and he is, thus, referred to as ‘Modi’s Man’ in the political circles.
Sharma has also played a key role in Covid management in Varanasi, PM Modi’s parliamentary constituency, as he worked to bring the down the coronavirus cases in the temple town during the second wave.