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Mirror, Mirror On The Wall...

By S.G.Vombatkere

18 May, 2014

The BJP has won hands down and, since this is the choice of the people, deserves to be congratulated. Mr.Modi is the single largest factor that has influenced this unprecedented electoral victory. At the same time, the INC, which deserved to lose, needs to be chastised in addition to the electoral slap in the face it has received from the people, for running so corrupt a government.

Right now, the BJP will be busy deciding which MP will get which ministry. This piece will do nothing at all to influence those decisions, but some reasoned guess work may not be out of place. The most serious image-damage issue faced by Mr.Modi is the 2002 carnage in Gujarat. A lower court has let Mr.Modi off the hook, but the matter is not closed. Also, Mr.Modi's close associate, Mr.Amit Shah, faces similar charges. So, as a step towards conveniently “removing the stigma”, it is a fair guess that Mr.Amit Shah will be Union Home Minister to take charge of all inconvenient witnesses and evidence. In order that the muslim community in general is induced to accept the 2002 Gujarat carnage as a thing of the past (“let the dead past bury its dead”), Mr.Modi will likely release his Vadodara seat and get Mr.Zafar Saroshwala elected there as his “muslim face”, and perhaps appoint him as Minister for Minority Affairs.

Gen V.K.Singh will get the defence portfolio. As a man of integrity with the best interests of the military-as-an-apolitical-national-asset at heart, he will bring order, balance and strategic good-sense into India's internal and external security. It should be noted that in the last NDA coalition government, Mr.Vajpayee did not give the defence portfolio to Maj Gen B.C.Khanduri, but gave it to Mr.George Fernandes, member of a coalition partner. India has always has a defence minister who knew next to nothing about defence and had no real value for the soldier. This time around, the BJP has no excuse for not making history by appointing Gen V.K.Singh as Defence Minister. This will also be a positive first step in cleaning the augean stables of that bureaucrat-dominated ministry.

This writer would not like to hazard a guess for Finance, but for a start, Mr.Modi as PM who automatically holds the Atomic Energy portfolio, may additionally hold External Affairs himself.

One is left to hope that the new BJP union government will not bow down too much to corporate pressures, already evidenced by a bullish stock market and India Inc demanding that infrastructure projects be cleared quickly. Ms.Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO ICICI Bank, has stated, “The immediate priorities would be to resolve issues in existing projects, clear pending receivables to the corporate sector from government agencies, resolve the retrospective taxation issue ... “. Mr.Moily's corporate-friendly (and hence people-unfriendly and ecologically disastrous) environmental and GM clearances to various mega-projects, and Mr.Chidambaram's writing off huge NPAs of big industry, may even be bettered (is that the right word?) by the new BJP ministry.

Mr.Rohan Joshi@mojorojo, commenting on BJP's resounding electoral victory, has written, “We just handed the keys to the castle over from INC (Indian National Congress) to INDIA INC. There really is no winning”. Thank you, Mr.Joshi, for putting it so neatly and concisely! But, with Mr.Rohan Joshi's remarkably perceptive quip, does it really matter who holds which portfolio when Mr.Modi is PM ?

Major General S.G. Vombatkere, VSM, retired in 1996 as Additional DG Discipline & Vigilance in Army HQ AG's Branch. He holds a PhD degree in Structural Dynamics from I.I.T, Madras. He is Adjunct Associate Professor of the University of Iowa, USA, in international studies. With over 370 published papers in national and international journals and seminars, his current area of interest is strategic and development-related issues. E-mail: sg9kere@live.com



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