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Second setback in experiments in Govt formation – Arunachal Pradesh

It would be easy to explain this off as a byproduct of the tension that the Modi Government has been having with the judiciary. However, there might be a kernel of truth in the sense that the relations between the Government and the judiciary are fraught with tension right now. The Government believes in the righteousness of what it is doing, no doubt helped by the euphoria of the massive Lok Sabha victory it got and the implied mandate by the people of India. However, it is for that very reason that the constitution of India mandates that the judiciary is a separate and equal pillar of democracy, no matter how strong the Government is. It may also be time for the government to re-look its advisers regarding the confrontation with the judiciary, the success factors of the confrontations so far is pretty low. The NJAC Bill regarding the appointments of the judges, something that the Government pushed with such a lot of effort, was reversed by the court and in a manner where there is not going to be reversal. Further issues regarding the process of appointments is being tossed back and forth, with the court very hesitant to let the Government (maybe, specifically this Government) the power that it is seeking.
Having said that, the situation is Arunachal Pradesh would have come as a shock to many. It seemed to be a settled deal, with the wheeling and dealing having happened some months earlier, and a combined Government of Congress defectors and BJP support ruling the state; and with the Assam election having gone the BJP way decisively, showing the way for the BJP to make deep inroads into the Congress ruled states of the North East. The situation in Arunachal Pradesh was not at all clear. There was a huge amount of dis-satisfaction within the Congress, and the Congress high command did not take any action to handle this dissidence. As a result, the situation grew to such a level that the dissidents were ready to walk out of the Congress and the BJP was more than willing to take these dissidents. After all, the North-East is a geographic zone that till that time had seen minimal political strength of the BJP and the chance to throw out a Congress regime would have seemed so right for the BJP – multiple political benefits of the same. Continue reading Second setback in experiments in Govt formation – Arunachal Pradesh

Finally the cabinet expansion and reshuffle taken place – minimum government ?

When the Modi Government came to power, the country had been totally disgusted with the going-ons in the Congress years during the UPA rule. People were selected to be ministers based on their influence and their power, guided by the decision making exercised by the Gandhi family. The revelation of the Nadia tapes just highlighted what people already knew – that everybody is involved in deciding who gets to be a minister, that merit and capability is nowhere to be seen, and other reasons.
So when the Modi Government came to power, there were several expectations, and chief among them were these: Meritocracy, No nefarious influence in deciding who gets to be ministers (even though there was some fears of the RSS influence), Minimum Government and maximum governance (which means that the ministry would be properly sized and extra departments would be abolished or merged) and pray we hope for, no usage of factors such as caste mathematics in deciding who would be ministers.
When the cabinet was formed, it was a mix of expectations. There were some people with a lot of merit that found their way in the cabinet, such as Piyush Goyal, Suresh Prabhu, Manohar Parrikar, and some others. However, there were expectations that some others who have got a good reputation in the past, such as Major BC Khanduri and Arun Shourie were not included even though there was widespread expectations for the same. Then, over a period of time, some of the ministers in the government really did not show much performance other than making provocative statements and causing trouble for the Government. Ministers making provocative statements did a lot to make the small hard-core supporters of the Modi Government happy, but there were many others who supported the Government for the development and reduced corruption promises, who had not signed for these provocative statements and there would have been some resentment against the failure of the Government to put a cap on these people. Even experienced people such as Rajnath Singh and Uma Bharti really have not shown much active work. Continue reading Finally the cabinet expansion and reshuffle taken place – minimum government ?

Misuse of the CBI – Will the BJP reverse the course of the Congress ?

It’s been 2 years now, enough time to evaluate how the Govt is doing on its stated mission of reducing corruption in Government. Now, the Modi Govt claims that top level corruption is down, and there have not been any major stories (backed by some evidence) about any corruption in the top levels of Government. At the same time, normal citizens are more impacted by the corruption they face on a day to day basis. This could be corruption they face when they deal with the police, or with government land departments, or with the educational department, or with other government departments that they need to deal with. I don’t think anyone is making the argument that there is any reduction in corruption at this level, and this is the corruption that people deal with on a day to day basis – they don’t get hit by an Adarsh or CWG kind of corruption scandal, but about the corrupt babu who wants money to do some work that was part of the job. Any reduction in such corruption is what would really benefit people. Some of this is with the state governments, but there is still a lot to be done by the central Govt. The CBI can step in for such cases where it has been requested by the state, or is in an area where the center has control. Continue reading Misuse of the CBI – Will the BJP reverse the course of the Congress ?