Sunday, February 1, 2015

Putting country before dynasty

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took everyone by surprise when his cabinet asked Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh to step down before her contract expired (she had already superannuated) to appoint Indian Ambassador to the US Subrahmaniam Jaishankar as the next Foreign Secretary. After that, all hell broke loose as the media went into overdrive to take sides, as it always does.

One interesting story however, came out from Suhasini Haidar writing in The Hindu, wherein it was revealed that even the former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh wanted to appoint Mr. Jaishankar as FS but was overruled by party president Sonia Gandhi. Yes, the Prime Minister of the world's largest democracy was overruled on a secretarial appointment by an unaccountable party president. This is the sort of story you hear of in the communist regimes of China and North Korea, but this actually happened just a few years ago in India. It is not just shocking but deeply disturbing, how the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, having once failed to abolish the Constitution overtly, came so close to doing it covertly by subsuming the powers of the executive in secret.

And why was Sujatha Singh appointed instead? Because, it seems, her father, a former IB man, was close to the dyansty while Jaishankar's father, the legendary K Subrahmaniam, was a critic of Nehru's China policy (which nearly cost us our northeast). Therefore, appointments were made not on the basis of national interest or even merit, but on loyalty to the dynasty. There is only one work for that - a dictatorship. UPA I and II were therefore a decade of the dictatorship of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, as this incident clearly shows.

Fortunately, India's democracy is still alive and Modi is Prime Minister. His uncanny ability to find good talent and put them to work was what led him to govern Gujarat so effectively, and he has not brought that to the Union Government. He has put the country before his personal preferences by putting the US visa ban issue aside and actively engaging with America and its allies. In the field of foreign policy at least, he is all set to leave behind every predecessor of his. More than anything else, this is acche din

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