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Narendra Modi has plenty but tough choices to head security establishment

Monday, 19 May 2014 - 7:00am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), riding on a Modi wave, gets ready to form the next government, speculations are rife as to who would get coveted posts like Union home minister and National Security Advisor (NSA) that are key to the security establishment.

Home ministry officials are almost sure of getting BJP president Rajnath Singh as their new minister. Though the name of Nitin Gadkari is also doing the rounds, his proximity to the RSS may work against him. Former home secretary R K Singh, former Mumbai police chief Satyapal Singh and former Army chief V K Singh are also tipped to get important positions with MoS ranks.

Former RAW chief Sanjeev Tripathi is the latest addition to the front-runners list for the NSA's post. There are whispers in the corridors of power that the three Singhs, who recently joined the BJP and defeated stalwart-rivals by huge margins, could be inducted into the National Security Foresight Group that's being envisaged by the new government to advise the Prime Minister on security issues.

"The new government would like to utilise RK Singh and Satyapal Singh's expertise. Both were in key positions just a few months ago and have up-to-date knowledge of security issues. But because of possible conflicts of interest they may not get the home ministry and General (retd) V K Singh may not get a position in defence ministry," said a senior bureaucrat in the home ministry. But this is how Satyapal Singh, who defeated Jat leader Ajit Singh by a huge margin in his home constituency of Baghpat, responded to the speculation: "I did not enter politics and fought election for status or posts. I belong to this area and my aim is to work and develop my constituency.

"I see myself only as a party worker and servant of the people. Whatever responsibility my party asks to me take, I will accept it with humility". Officials are also seeing the possibility of the home ministry getting bifurcated, with internal security becoming a separate entity. "This would help the new government in two ways. One, it would make the obese ministry leaner and better functional, and it would provide room for the government to induct many new MPs who have a security background," a source said.

The names of former intelligence Bureau director Ajit Doval, former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal and permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva and New York, Hardeep Singh Puri, have already been heard as frontrunners for the post of NSA. But some officials do not rule out the chances of former foreign secretaries Shyam Saran and Satish Chandra, who was also deputy NSA under under Brajesh Mishra in the Vajpayee-led NDA government.

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