January 20, 2011

Reshuffle was sham; news was on the sidelines

After the reshuffle of his cabinet, the Prime Minister talked to the press. What he said gives the true message rather than the act of oath taking and portfolio rejig.

a. It is only a minor reshuffle, a more ‘expansive’ exercise will be done after the budget session of parliament.
               I have hardly shuffled the pack. I don’t care for what you expected of me. I and Sonia know the best about how to run the government and the country.

b. I am not an astrologer to say when the prices of essential commodities will be under check.
              Like Pawar and Thomas [whom I have given independent charge of Food ministry], I too cannot take responsibility for price rise. Prices will rise when there is more demand and when international commodity prices rise; the government can do little to check it. I am an economist and so I know much better than you all together. Don’t you see we are taking all the actions we can take, and I am helpless if no improvement takes place. 

c. There is no ‘instant’ solution to the staking of money illegally by Indians abroad.
              Supreme Court’s saying that this is outright theft and suggesting that the government should do something is just lofty advice that the SC is habitual of making. We are bound by treaties etc and can hardly put pressure on other governments and banks to disclose black money held by Indians.

d. We are committed to end the stalemate in parliament. We are prepared to discuss everything on the floor of the house.
             There will be no JPC on 2G scam, whatever you opposition parties do. We will not change our stand and you can do a damn because we have the majority. In any case, if you don’t allow bills to be passed, how does it affect my or Soniaji’s health?

Now, if the media and public at large expected something earth-shaking from the cabinet reshuffle, they have rightly been proved wrong. When did you find Manmohan taking impactful decisions? It was media, helped by government’s own spin doctors, who’d foolishly thought Manmohan will (i)bring new faces to inculcate dynamism and freshness, (ii) remove corrupt ones to give a strong message against corruption, (iii) bring in experts to handle ministries tackling inflation, infrastructure, investment, reforms etc, and (iv) promote and demote ministers based on their performance. If you find the same wine in the same bottle, don’t fret. Be prepared to suffer them.

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