Pradhan and his loyal assistant Harsh Rawat

Vol 19, PW 12 (25 Feb 16) People & Policy

Dharmendra Pradhan values his loyal personal assistant Harsh Rawat.

For proof look to Pradhan's decision to re-schedule a parliamentary consultative committee meeting in Dehradun from February 14 to February 18 so he could attend Rawat's wedding the same day in the Uttarakhand capital. He even took along ONGC chairman DK Sarraf and Engineers India chairman Sanjay Gupta to the wedding.

Rawat, whose official designation is media advisor, plays a key role managing "access" to Pradhan. A source explains the parliamentary consultative committee meeting was a chance for Pradhan to sweet-talk 17 MPs from different political parties.

ONGC officials gave the MPs presentations on how they keep track of drilling activities across India. They also described the Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques used to increase production from ageing fields.

"Pradhan called the meeting in an attempt to hold a smooth parliamentary session (which began February 23) from the oil ministry's point of view," we hear. "Pradhan wants to educate MPs about the complexity of the sector and how the ministry is trying to increase domestic oil production.

" State-owned oil company officials found themselves playing chaperone to MPs who visited nearby tourist hotspots like the Jim Corbett National Park or Himalayan town Nainital. A source feels Pradhan wasted his time lavishing such treats on MPs.

"They don't appreciate it," he says. "They feel entitled.