February 16, 2020
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'I Never Met Him'

Vincent George denies links with Abhishek Verma

'I Never Met Him'

YOGA keeps him fit and helps him get through a stressful 20-hour working day. But it doesn’t help him win friends. And like it or not, the post of private secretary to the Congress president is, in some measure, a popularity contest. A competition that, in the dynasty-ridden politics of the party, has turned out to be an acrimonious matter of prestige. Face to face, the super efficient George comes across as any polite and pleasant 44 - year-old would. Expressing shock at the allegations made by Abhishek Verma, he maintains, "I’ve never met him." Nor is the claim that he received Rs 3 crore or thereabouts through a hawala transaction true.

If George is unpopular, say his friends, it’s because he’s overburdened. Endlessly juggling appointments, phone calls, faxes, e-mails, tour programmes and briefings is enough to drive anyone crazy. Besides, now he has to handle the additional burden of Parliament.

If he keeps senior party leaders waiting, it’s because he’s engaged by pressing tasks. If he doesn’t manage to fix appointments for them, it’s because the Congress president doesn’t want to see them. He’s only the buffer, absorbing flak that would otherwise be directed at his boss. If the Congress president takes a decision, it’s her own. If she consults anyone, it is members of the CWC.

As for the controversial Ashok Aggarwal, he’s just one of the many bureaucrats with whom George — inevitably as a result of his job— came into contact.

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