The 60-year-old bureaucrat at the centre of a face-off between West Bengal and the Union government first made a splash in the state when he ranked third in the Class 10 state board exams in 1976.
Bandopadhyay was born in a small village in the Asansol area of then undivided Burdwan district in 1960. A student of the Ramakrishna Mission in Narendrapur, Bandopadhyay later excelled in Presidency College and Calcutta University, where he studied political science.
He briefly worked as a journalist before passing Civil Service examination in 1987.
“Alapan was always very studious and became the topper from our school in 1976. His excellent handwriting and oratory skills made him stand out from the rest. He regularly took part in debates and extemporary speech sessions. He was loved by all,” said Sunil Pattanayak, who taught Bandopadhyay at Ramakrishna Mission .
As a bureaucrat, Bandopadhyay made himself indispensable. During the Left Front regime, he was known to be close to Buddhadeb Bhattacharya when the latter served as information and cultural affairs minister and chief minister.
After Mamata Banerjee came to power, the bureaucrat became part of the chief minister’s core team. “He is an honest and brave officer,” Banerjee said on Monday.
“He always followed rules to the last line and gave his instructions in detail,” said a junior bureaucrat who did not wish to be named.
Before becoming chief secretary in October 2020, Bandopadhay served in a number of important positions.
He served as district magistrate of Howrah, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas. Later, he was made commissioner of Kolkata Municipal Corporation. He subsequently served in the departments of transport, information, medium and small enterprises, and home as principal secretary.
He was also state election commissioner for a brief period in 2015. Bandyopadhyay is married to Sonali Chakrabarty, an academic and vice-chancellor of Calcutta University.
His younger brother, Anjan Bandyopadhyay, was a popular television anchor who recently died of Covid-19.