- Ram Mandir: Supreme Court says Ayodhya land dispute a 'sentimental' matter, suggests mediation route
- Yogi Adityanath meets PM Modi, likely to discuss portfolios with BJP top brass
- EVM fraud? Roll out VVPATs, it's the only way to silence doubting politicians, say ex-CECs
- Beef rumours: Dadri averted, police watched mob beat us, say Jaipur hotel owner, manager
- India ranks a low 122 among world's happiest countries; Pakistan, Nepal fare better
The cabinet reshuffle is an odd combination of brazenness and caution
This moment of profound political transition is marked by three challenges. First, the party that signals it can be rid of its ancien regime the quickest will stand a better chance of succeeding. Parties that continue to be implicated in the old corrupt, presumptuous and arbitrary order will struggle. Second, the nature of governance is also shifting. To project effectiveness, a government has to perform across several fronts simultaneously: macro economy, education, infrastructure, power, rural development environment and so forth. The weight of governance and growth cannot be borne by a handful of individuals. But many of these ministries require drastic internal revamping, close attention to daily processes and the creation of systems that can deliver on a routine basis. None of these tasks is flashy. And they cannot be done in a hurry. Third, parties are struggling to articulate a broad and exciting political narrative. Is there a larger story they have to tell, which can animate the voters? Can they articulate the zeitgeist?
The cabinet reshuffle and Congress party restructuring need to be seen in this context. It is very hard to make the case that the reshuffle signals the junking of old debris. Instead, it is an odd combination of caution, brazenness and political trifling. There is caution in the sense that there are no bold departures that promise a new beginning. There are new faces but no image makeover. Ajay Maken's promotion, independent charge for Pilot and Scindia in ministries that will require good judgement signal a step forward. But the pace of these promotions is still glacial. It is hard to shake off the feeling that young leaders cannot be given responsibility in a way that there is a risk of them overshadowing Rahul Gandhi. The culture of the Congress party is such that until the moment Rahul decides to genuinely lead, it will be hard for anyone else to stake out an independent track record of achievement.
- For Congress, 2014 was a loss to BJP’s superior electoral tactics. 2019 has to be a victory for a higher strategy
- China’s response to border problems with Nepal is in contrast to India’s postures
- In the UP election campaign, all the things usually used to signal ‘vikas’ were directly connected with Hindutva
- Trump’s wavering over US commitments to Europe and changing geopolitics in Asia could push more countries to acquire atomic weapons
- Hubris has set in. The BJP believes it can get away with anything — it now intends to
- Ban on highway liquor vends is welcome, but why exempt bars?