Monday, June 9, 2014


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
Ganga maa bahut jaldi saaf ho jayegi.     
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.  

No comments: