After completion of electoral process to constitute the 16th Loksabha, the new government has taken charge in Delhi as per constitutional norms. NaMo has naturally progressed in status from PM-nominee to PM-real. If there was one ideally prescribed way to start with a bang, NaMo's swearing in ceremony was one of it.
No one knows better than our new PM to make best use of any occasion by taking pro-actively strategic initiatives, though symbolic in nature. Even his political adversaries will admit that inviting SAARC heads of state for the swearing-in ceremony was a masterstroke in diplomacy, as well as publicity. The ceremony, which was essentially a domestic political event, was beamed live in all our neighbouring countries because of the presence of many heads of state. India needs to assert its own status in the world by balancing mutual co-operation and legitimate level of hegemony. Logically, this process should start from our own region. We have heard political initiatives like NAM (non-aligned movement) by earlier governments but we can hardly recall any influence of such initiatives in enhancing India's regional or global status. We remained one of the so-called third-world countries. NaMo realises that we need to shift gears and also think and act differently. On a larger perspective, an undeclared but inspiring goal for our new PM could be working on constructive regional co-operation which can ultimately lead to a unified currency for Asia on the lines of Euro, in not very distant future. Well begun is half done aur achche din zaroor ayenge !
The new cabinet has pan-Indian representation from Kanyakumari to Jammu, from Kutch to Arunachal Pradesh.Comfortable majority in the parliament has given the new PM much needed leeway to select his own team. He should consider himself lucky because similar "prerogative" had eluded many other PM's in the past for various reasons.
The new ministry can be considered to be as close to the word "dream team" as it can practically get. NaMo has stuck to the proven formula of a compact ministry (minimum government) to ensure maximum governance enroute to the final mission of "Ek Bharat shresht Bharat".
Practical considerations may have forced a few states like Himachal, Uttarakhand and West Bengal getting a raw deal inspite of having elected MPs from those states. Possibly, they are left out for future expansion or re-grouping after the 100 day honeymoon period. Induction of sizeable number of women MPs into the cabinet and conscious focus on blending youth with experience appears to be highlight of the new ministry.
Ruling out veterans above age of 75 years and also sons/daughters of political dynasty in the party for ministerial berths are really very healthy decisions from long term perspective.
Some of the seniors who remained loyal to the party may soon find themselves accommodated as governors of states where the slots fall vacant in near future.
Soon after taking charge, key ministers have made the right noises. The new minorities affairs' minister Najma Heftullah's statement that muslims are not a minority in our country anymore, was such a pleasant departure from the established routine of the past. At close to 20% of India's population, muslims are numerically equal to the total population of USA ! However, our netas have practised appeasement as a tool to win their votes. If India has to find a place of her justified honour in the world, it is important for every citizen to be committed to the national cause, contribute positively and be counted through competitive merit rather than reservation. Who could have been more qualified than the suave Najma Heftullah to convince muslim fraternity to join the mainstream of society instead of remaining at the fringes seeking benevolence for ever ?
While the entire election campaign was filled with fireworks and heroics of NaMo, country witnessed his surprising soft side during the recent speech to BJP's elected members of parliament. Fortunately, the soft side silently and safely co-exists with his tough demeanor. He will definitely continue his style of a no-nonsense administrator who means business when it comes to chasing set goals. Crores of precious rupees must have gone down the drain in government projects so far due to bad implementation, lack of monitoring, corruption etc.,.
It is such a greatly relieving coincidence that NaMo carries a unique distinction of being the first PM with a 12 year long successful track record as CM of a relatively large state. This will make a lot of difference in getting the best out of our monumentally lethargic bureaucracy. BJP's sympathisers would not have forgotten how a wily (and possibly a section of bureaucracy always loyal to congress party) managed to manipulate prices of onion during an important season which ultimately cost BJP their next election in Delhi assembly. That was caused by administrative inexperience of a party in power for the first time and NaMo is unlikely to allow repetition of such experiences. As per reports, NaMo has chosen officers known for integrity as well as efficiency for all the key posts.
Knowing NaMo's style of working, we can definitely hope to see many symbolic and strategically important initiatives similar to the Sardar statue project he took up last year. Aur
In the melee of the swearing-in ceremony, one small but important point got lost. It deserves a special mention. While the guest list for the ceremony included who-is-who of the country and Asia, NaMo's closest family members chose not to attend. It is such a relief that they consciously did so because of their sensitivity to the cause of protecting NaMo's clean image. We will realise the significance of this gesture when we contrast the ever enthusiastic foster family of Vajpayee which made news for all wrong reasons during NDA-I. It is also clear that the Iyers, Singhvis, Sibals, Diggys and Tiwarys will be waiting for the simplest opportunity to corner the new government on corruption or nepotism. As per reports, the new PM has issued an important instruction to all party MPs against the practice of making political appointments of personal staff from close family.
Shashi Taroor issued a rare complimentary statement by referring to the new PM as Modi2.0, in a reference to his behavioural change in the role as premier of the country. While NaMo's style of governance was always certified to be "inclusive" by even muslims of the state he ruled earlier as CM, congress party had not acknowledged it officially for political reasons. To give Shashi Taroor some benefit of doubt, we can definitely see NaMo's actions and gestures are more reconciliatory, in his new role as PM.
Visiting Dr. Man Mohan Singh in his new house could have been a political necessity to collect inputs from erstwhile PM on burning priorities and left over urgent tasks but it was as much a rare courtesy.
In any case, far reaching changes to the administrative process can be expected - big changes always start with small shift in attitude to work. This obviously requires motivating and taking all babus together as a team. Lots of pep talk also seems to be going on in the corridors of power to the people who matter. Great emphasis to "cleanliness" in NaMo scheme of things will be welcome change. We should not be surprised if we get to see a more hygienic and clean place when we visit any government office next time. We may not have to struggle for a glimpse of a big, fat babu normally lost behind a huge pile of dirty official files on the desk. Much work related data may get compressed and sit in "soft" form inside the office computers. This could be a "top driven" exercise of change but we are sure to see some real positive changes in real. NaMo will most certainly execute his assignment as if he is the CEO of India Inc. rather than stereotypical political head of India. NaMo has the ability to harness the collective imagination, skills and efforts of the people of this country to march ahead. His style is authoritative rather than authoritarian. We need an authoritative PM as much as we need democracy.
NaMo will be definitely keen to show some positive results within the 100 day honeymoon period. We are unlikely to see repetition of a brave act like Pokhran nuclear blast that was undertaken within a very short period of
Vajpayee government assuming office. While Pokharan blast had its own relevance in the context of that period, NDA-II under NaMo is likely to take actions that can prepare itself for a longer haul in power.
Getting back black money parked abroad, revocation of article 370, construction of a grand Ram temple will be in the agenda. But top on priority list would be containing inflation, boosting investor confidence, kick-starting struggling economy etc., Light house projects with far reaching implications like inter-linking of rivers will be high on agenda. Varanasi will surely receive special attention and will be a site in the world map for spiritual tourism. If NaMo had managed to rescue Gujarat from a physically and emotionally devastating earthquake within a short time of taking over as CM, we can trust him to repeat the same for India.
NaMo is quick to gauge pulse of the people and adapt himself to the need of the hour. Tech-savvy PM's official website got launched in the cyberspace, the very moment NaMo was administered the oath of office. He has a huge followership of over 4 million through his cyber accounts which will only swell as he settles down in his throne. That is a great way to sustain a personalised communication with the masses that will prove to be so crucial in winning elections in future. Main opposition party as well as AAP are in shambles and going by the affairs of the party, we can expect to see exodus of many loyal supporters of these parties to BJP. "Traditional politics" is likely to take a back seat and efficiency/delivery will receive well deserved primary focus in the governance process of new India.
All sympathisers of right wing political philosophy would like 2014 to be marked as the beginning of NaMo-yug.