bureaucracy

Confessions of a Minister’s PA

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“Though I am a PA of a Congress minister, my political loyalties lie elsewhere. The trick is to know how to hide such secrets”

I was a deputy collector before being called upon to be a minister’s PA in the Maharashtra government. I lobbied for the job because it is an extremely powerful position. A PA is like a priest in a temple—you have to appease him to reach the deity. It is also a thankless job. The brickbats come flying quicker than you can blink an eye, but there are never any compliments for good work done.

Though I am the PA of a Congress minister, my political loyalties lie elsewhere. The trick is to know how to hide such secrets. My boss is a man with a particularly foul mouth. Expletives flow out of his mouth without provocation. It makes him feel powerful to see others cringe.

He has a lot of money, so he is not interested in making more. His only focus is the Chief Minister’s chair. When Vilasrao Deshmukh was the Chief Minister, my boss was his vocal opponent. Now that Ashok Chavan, whom my boss considers junior and ineffective, has become the CM, he is on the warpath.

Had he not been so blatant about his ambition, he would have been at least in the race, but his mouth is his biggest problem. He doesn’t know when to stop talking.

My boss likes to be told that he is efficient and would make a good CM. Some journalists visit his room all the time and do exactly that.

PAs never talk amongst each other about their bosses. You never know who will snitch, since everyone is in competition. It scars you for a lifetime if you are attached to the wrong minister.

When the Shiv Sena-BJP was in power, many ministers would blatantly take bribes in their anterooms. They knew they were there for a short while, so they had to make money fast. There are corrupt leaders in the present government, but they ensure that even their PAs do not know about their activities by operating through agents.

(He has been a PA to a minister in Maharashtra for over a decade)

As told to Haima Deshpande.