Saturday, June 14, 2014

Modi, the Executive President of India

I was not exactly ready for Modi as the Prime Minister of India (For that matter neither Rahul nor Kejriwal excited me). That is why I did not exercise my right as a citizen, abstained from voting. Shame on me? Not so.
But, I am not here to defend my not voting. In my way of thinking, not having voted, I lost my right to criticize people’s choice. For the moment let it slide that each citizen who voted elected Modi as Prime Minister only indirectly, even the people of Varanasi. Let us simply agree that people elected Modi as the Prime Minister of India. Power be unto him to move the nation to great heights.
But, I am seeing Modi slowly but steadily transforming himself into Modi, the Executive President of India (EPoI), far from being the head of the Cabinet. He asked the secretaries to the Government of India to come to him (PMO) if they faced any problems in their respective ministries as regards the various policies and programmes. He abolished the GOM and the EGOM created to mediate between different ministries. Even if you agree that GOMs and EGOMs have become dysfunctional, I was left wondering whether Modi, the able administrator, could not have set them right. Why the rush to abolish them?
Last but not least he convened a meeting of the secretaries of finance and commerce to sort out issues with the SEZs. As far as I could read the newspaper reports, they were silent on his Cabinet colleagues attending the meeting.
To me, the last sounded like he is bypassing his Cabinet colleagues heading the two ministries.
This is when things snapped to my attention. Modi may have started seeing himself as the Cabinet! Modi is becoming the EPoI, an extra constitutional post.
In my mind, this is not good for the country, as tuned as it is to the Westminster model.

Raghuram Ekambaram 

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