On May 22, the 2nd UPA government will complete its 1st year in the office. Yesterday, 2 premier english news channels viz. the CNN IBN and the NDTV reported the results of the surveys conducted by them. The survey were intended to analyze the performance of UPA 2 so far. The idea to dissect the performance of a government by doing surveys is not a great one for the simple reason that asking a few thousand out of a billion can not be a basis to analyze performances. And when you see some of the questions of those survey, you will scratch your head to examine the connection between the question and govt.’s performance. The questions on Rahul Gandhi (who is not a part of the govt.) gave a sense that the channels (NDTV to be particular) was trying to make ground for the congress to launch Rahul as the next PM candidate. With utter disgust, i decided to do an independent analysis of the UPA 2’s performance.
Being a 19 year old, I may not be a suitable person to analyze a government’s operations and functioning. I will put the points (both high and low) of the government that , I feel, matters while analyzing the performance.
One face that comes to mind while thinking about the govt.’s high points is that of P Chidambaram. The Home Minister has successfully overhauled the way the system works. He succeeded to make the year almost terror free (except the Pune blast). His no nonsense approach towards naxalism has generated hope among the common man that the Naxals can be tamed. Though he faces stiff resistance from his partymen on this front, he is not a man who gives up a job without trying. Yesterday, In his interview to NDTV, he looked in pain and his following 2 statements said the story of his tied hands.
“Prime Minister and I are clear about the strategy against naxals.”
“I have a limited mandate to implement”
Yet, he has performed his job brilliantly.
Another man who has been a success story for this govt. is Mr Kapil Sibbal. His Right to Education bill has lots of promise in it. If it can be implemented properly, the state of education in India will improve a lot. Another plan, originated from this ace lawyer’s brain, the Foreign University Bill is also something to look forward. Though, there are some concerns regarding this bill are yet to be met, there is a certain hope that Mr Sibbal will make the consensus before passing the bill.
Another man who has been during the limelight during last 1 year is Pranab Mukherjee. His brilliant floor management during cut motions and his defense of govt. in many cases helped him to emerge as a true leader. While the Prime Minister was seemed not much involved in matters other than Nuclear Bill and relationship with Pakistan, Pranab Mukherjee being a senior leader managed all the difficulties well. I feel he could have been a better Prime Minister than Manmohan Singh. Even Pranab Mukherjee stands for PM. Though his budget which increased fuel prices and devoid of reforms (reforms were expected after a thumping win for the Congress and no Left in the govt.), he performed better than average.
The govt. had many low points during the last one year. The biggest problem that the govt. faced is the lack of cohesion in the govt. The cabinet is deeply divided over different issues. Chidambaram- Mamta, Chidambaram- Ghulam Nabi Azad, Chidambaram- Jairam Ramesh, Jairam Ramesh- Kamal Nath, Jairam Ramesh- Pawar, Prithviraj Chavan and Kapil Sibal, Mamta- Pranab, Murli Deora- Pranab etc. are some of the open fights we saw in last one year. These fights are the ones in which ministers were involved. Add Digvijay and Mani Shankar Aiyar’s attack on Chidambaram on Naxal issue which exposed the Congress’ lack of unity on serious matter. It seems the govt. has not been able to take the party alongside. There is no problem in having different issues but putting them in public forum is what shows the lack of cohesion in the govt. And how can I forget Shahshi Tharoor and his 7 mistakes in 1 year? Another failure of this year, though he was expected to deliver.
Another problem with the govt. is the tiff with allies. In fact, the ministers of ally parties have let the govt. down. Sharad Pawar (Failure in food prices, alleged involvement in IPL scam), A Raja (2G spectrum scam), Azhagiri (Consistent absence from the parliament) and Mamta Banarjee (More interested in Bengal politics than her ministry). When Congress got 200+ seats in last year election, it had been predicted that it won’t be put into much trouble by the allies and will play a big brother’s role in the government. But thanks to its high-handedness, the relationship between it and the allies looks strained. TMC-Congress alliance for Kolkata civic polls couldn’t be materialized. The govt. looked in danger during the cut motions. They survived the damage by luring the BSP,SP and RJD, but it created more trouble for Congress in the long run.
Another failure of the government that affects the common man is in fighting the inflation and price rise. It also failed in pressurizing Pakistan on the terrorism issue. Without much response from Pakistan, India agreed to start formal talk. The Sharm- el- Seikh where India lost its ground by conceding the Baloochistan issue in a hope to start fresh talks with Pakistan. No one knows, if it will help in setting the relationship right. May be PM’s eagerness to start talk with Pakistan may help in future but at present it seems to be a failure.
After all discussions, it’s now time for marks. If the government to be given mark on a 10 mark scale, then I will give 4/10 to it. These 4 marks are only for the extra-ordinary work of P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibbal.