Work more, talk less


Most respected Shri. AtaIji behariji vaipayeeji,

Congratulations. If my memory is right your government has just crossed fifty days in office which is an admirable record for any BJP government. Of course we do realise that these fifty days itself had been like a ‘yugh‘ what with one controversy after another dogging you from day one. Surely, this half century lacked the ease with which Tendulkar gets to his, but then politics is not cricket, where only one bowler bowls at a time.

It is surely a poetic justice that a lonesome bachelor as yourself in personal life should now find himself in the company of so many bedfellows in politics. Though it is Lord Rama you rever and worship, I think it is Lord Krishna and His leelas that you must now try and emulate when managing such an assortment of partners, if you have any desire of entering the next millennium as the country’s Prime Minister. Otherwise, like Rama you are more likely to find yourself in the wilderness, sooner or later, and in all probability sooner than later.
Such an advice, though sounding ominous, is certainly based on firm realities borne out by very recent history as chronicled by the dailies daily. Every day dawns with an out of turn statement by an overzealous ally and ends with a denial or a rebuttal or even a disownment by the PMO or any other affected ministry or partner, which again leads to another round of unbridled verbiage. Isaac Newton would never have predicted that his third law would be so much off the mark. For every action by a constituent, there now seems to be a grossly unequal, highly magnified and a totally unwarranted reaction from another that would leave all and sundry, including the long dead Newton dumbfounded. One is really baffled on what really all this noise is about for it is difficult to fathom the depths of a politician’s heart, if he has one. The nation is left wondering why you and your allies, pre and post elections, could not wash your dirty linen away from the public eye so that they themselves are not struck by a bout of remorse for their act in February. I do not know if your goodself realised it, but the crossfire within the coalition is so intense that the opposition really has nothing to do, but wait on the sidelines and applaud at the ongoing scuffle. Truly, we must praise the one who uttered these prophetic words: I have so many friends that I do not need enemies.
Mr. Prime Minister, we rarely get to see you much these days except in some investiture ceremony in the RB. We are not sure if you are doing penance for the past, present and future sins of your party or if you have simply lost your poetic voice. The people of the country voted for the able You because they thought you were very articulate and sincere, but where are you? Why are you doing a Nero when the whole edifice is burning? Not a word has emanated from your quarters on any of the issues that have been plaguing your coalition that has only led to a plethora of voices claiming to be your own. If the other PM, Pramod Mahajan is the de facto one, then whatever happens to our verdict at the hustings? Is it because you are helpless and have nothing to say or you are so inspired by the Insider technique that you realise the utter futility of words? Or is it that what is going on is beyond words? Whatever the case, the country has had enough of silent and sleeping PMs and can ill-afford one more.
Is the reality of so many ‘friends’ breathing down your neck unsettling you? But then you certainly waxed eloquent on the virtues of coalition, when it became inevitable. Is the presence of a little too many black sheep and tainted sheep in the cabinet worrying you? But did you not exhibit undue eagerness to dump one of your colleagues, without realising that you were walking into a quagmire? Now there is a big queue of ministers, each with some charge sheet or other under his belt, waiting to be axed on ‘grounds of probity in public life’. Are you troubled by the unending demands of your various allies which you are not in a position to accommodate? But certainly you were aware of what they would want, even before the polls? And above all if you think, and rightly so, that the BJP has shed all its moralistic postures and chastity faster than a strip-teaser, then that was because power was beckoning you and you could not resist. Surely your are not so naive as to have been cowed down by all these happenings around you. Then why sulk?
You now have one last opportunity before any trace of credibility that is left also evaporates. Though this coordination committee stuff brings back terrible nightmares about the bore committees of the erstwhile government, I suppose in a democracy as ‘sound’ as ours we have little options. So, when tomorrow, the gathering gathers for its tete-a-tete, you can make a resounding speech, probably your first since you assumed office, on the virtues of tolerance, give and take and consensus and the ills of impulse, indiscretion and inaction. Allies could be told what is really possible, so that they can be clear on what to expect and pursue a course of action which they think would serve their enlightened self-interest. Veteran Fernandeses who behave like Boy Georges can be told that China is not the same as Bihar. You may also use the opportunity to have a fixed policy on the question of charge-sheeted ministers for if present legal trends are any indication, your Jumbo cabinet may have few passengers at the end of the day if law takes its own course. Also, you can propose a resolution and even second it if there are no takers, to forthwith put an end to all this noisy bickerings that is rendering your outfit funnier than the now defunct UF. In fact, the very prospect of your government being a close contender to that circus should be motivation enough to call it curtains.

And last but not the least, please start governing, sir. That is what we voted you for.

Thanking you,
Yours hopefully,
An impatient citizen

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Jawahar T R