A fortnight after reports alleging misconduct by Home Minister (HM) Mr. Rajnath Singh’s son circulated in the media, and after the HM publicly expressed his anguish, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued a denial and claimed it was unaware of such reports. Is this believable?
Earlier the Prime Minister (PM) had snubbed the HM by forcing him to remove the Personal Assistant (PA) he had appointed. The PM passed an order that the PA appointed by every minister had first to get the PM’s clearance and no officer earlier attached to any previous government’s minister may be appointed. This was quickly violated by the PM himself after he appointed to his personal staff an officer who had served Mr. Manmohan Singh for the last five years! Subsequently the PM changed the procedure of appointing officers by the HM. Earlier the HM selected senior officials for appointment before the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) confirmed the appointment. The procedure is reversed. Now the Establishment Officer through the Cabinet Secretary will obtain the approval of the PM. Only after that will the HM sign on the dotted line to formally confirm the appointment. This same procedure of appointing senior officials extends to all ministers in the Modi cabinet.
Will not officials appointed through this procedure naturally have a tendency to bypass their respective ministers for the necessary interaction for administration and directly approach the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)? What contributory role will the HM and his colleagues perform except to read out scripts prepared by the PMO in parliament? Why appoint any ministers at all in that case?
Admirers of the PM and possibly the PM himself might view his latest decision as a sign of strength. They would be wrong. This decision reveals the PM’s weakness. He is jeopardizing the procedural system of administration to exercise personal control. This nation’s vast administrative challenge cannot effectively be met by a single person however competent he might be. Without delegating responsibility to a good team of ministers there is no prospect of achieving good governance. Good governance depends on teamwork. It is the leader’s responsibility to ensure good teamwork.
That is why this writer describes the PM’s action as weak. He betrays sense of insecurity.
If the PM lacks confidence in his HM he should replace him by an individual of his choice. That would indicate strength. Does the PM have the guts?
If the HM is compelled to act as a robot of the PMO he should resign from office. Does he have the guts?
Neither showed guts. Both preferred compromise. Let governance be ruined!
The Home Minister had to reverse his Secretary’s decision to remove the Uttarakhand Governor after the latter petitioned the Supreme Court. Does this not indicate that the new procedure of appointing officials jeopardizes proper coordination between ministers and officials?
Maintaining a hollow facade of unity is meaningless. That unfortunately seems the prevalent political priority. Parties stay united but with dissidence and sabotage within!