Narendra Modi is an avid campaigner, Narendra Modi is a master strategist, NaMo understands the pulse of the nation, and NaMo has a target to hug every male leader of the world, Narendra Modi loves giving global gyaan on his Mann Ki Baat – But does Narendra Modi govern? Does Narendra Modi take a decision apart from de-monetization? Does Narendra Modi give directions to his Council Of Ministers / BJP Chief Ministers / State Chiefs? Narendra Modi seems to have evolved beyond the realm of governing – be it either strategic or transactional or laying down guidelines or whatever and only descends on earth at the time of campaigning.
So, who runs the Government? Who take the decisions? I present to you Five and A Half Men.
Arun Jaitley – The sceptic / The control freak. This is the lawyer version of Arun Jaitley, perpetually doubting everybody around and so he likes the idea of Aadhaar linked with everything and the idea of the super surveillance state. I am sure that Aadhaar linking is Arun Jaitely’s brain-child, thinking that once it is done, the state can sneak on what all her citizens are up to and with Dipak Misra as Chief Justice of India and his hand-picked bench of judges with DY Chandrachud as his blue-eyed boy, I am sure that it will go through except for some miracle happening at the 24th hour. Apart from Aadhaar linking, this Arun Jaitley does not seem to have any role in governance but he comes first, as the country can get over de-monetization, learn to live with GST but once Aadhaar linking is legally tenable, it is perpetual for all living and future generations of the country.
Arun Jaitley – The disinterested. This is the political version of Arun Jaitley. He has never won an election (not sure about his college days) and in all probability, never will. He knows that he cannot become the Prime Minister of the country and he has already reached the peak of his political career. Narendra Modi can win elections with the masses and give speeches to the biggest auditoriums in the world but when it comes to wording the government policies / working around the maze of daily governance / any of the so-called intellectual debates (which does not happen much in this country), Arun Jaitley knows that he is the only one whose address Narendra Modi has. And he also knows the reason that Narendra Modi can only trust him or people like him, as he cannot become the PM himself. So, the same guy can become Finance Minister and Defence Minister. With no further peaks to scale and feeling caged, Arun Jaitley has lost the motivation and just goes through the motions. He can surely do better knowing where the pitfalls of de-monetization and GST will be, but he does not get into the details. When told to do about farmers and health in the budget, he will make announcements with no background working whatsoever. He comes second, as he has the most responsibilities and sleep-walks through each one.
Amit Shah – The hit-man. Amit Shah directs whom to target – Himanta Biswa Sarma, Mukul Roy, Jay Panda and of course Shankersinh Vaghela, all with an eye on the next elections. He ensures the timely raids on Karti Chidambaram, Dhinakaran, Karnataka Minister whose resort the Gujarat MLAs were put up prior to Rajya Sabha elections. Amit Shah has graduated from being the hitman himself to having his hit-men in the Government and target the 2nd rung of disgruntled leaders who can then join BJP or disrupt the plans of the party where they come from. He comes third as he directs the next search of headlines, all across.
Amit Shah – The campaigner. He knows whom to campaign for (not for Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje Scindia – who were once the contemporaries of his Saheb) and what to campaign for. I am not sure about the implications of this role, but this Amit Shah comes fourth as he is the eyes and ears of the Prime Minister for knowing the mood of the electorate.
Hasmukh Adhia – The brain behind the brawn. The 1981 Gujarat Cadre IAS officer migrated to New Delhi with his Boss, does the hard work for the execution of de-monetization and GST and now the Budget, but gets let down with the support from the Government machinery, which will anyways let down anybody and everybody. The only honest person in the list who believes in what he is doing with no results to show for.
Amitabh Kant – The show-off. Well, the 1980 Kerala Cadre IAS office who worked with only Congress or CPM governments in Kerala has become a poster boy in the BJP government, so much so that Arvind Panagariya also could not do much about him and had to leave himself. Nitin Gadkari said that his department will release the EV policy for the country but had to backtrack. Amitabh Kant got Ivanka Trump and Narendra Modi to Hyderabad for a complete non-event called GES. Comes up with a defunct campaign Make In India with no impact in the reality. He has the maximum budget in the country with no deliverables/accountability. If you want to understand how to be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, look no further. The half man in the list.