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Bull's Eye

In the Outlook issue on the stands on July 30, this column said: "The Indian people had overlooked this government's many weaknesses. They had expected ...

Bull's Eye

In the Outlook issue on the stands on July 30, this column said: "The Indian people had overlooked this government's many weaknesses. They had expected that the bjp alone could and would one day settle with Pakistan. That hope is dead. The PM must search his heart. Does he serve any purpose by continuing in office?"

By an odd coincidence, next day on July 31 the PM told his parliamentary party that he was old, unwell and morally responsible for lack of cohesion in the nda. He offered to resign. The nda unanimously rejected his offer. The PM decided to continue. He had made his point. He is indispensable to the nda. There is no viable alternative in Parliament. His masterful intervention in Parliament last Wednesday reaffirmed this.

There are three concentric circles in politics. The inner circle of government, the middle circle of Parliament, and the widest outer circle of the public. The PM has neutralised the two inner circles. But does he retain credibility with the public?

The PM has never exploited the now dwindling public confidence reposed in him to go over the heads of his political colleagues. To restore the government's moral authority he must drastically overhaul the nda. He must ruthlessly make government accountable. He must singlemindedly restore efficiency in the administration. Otherwise the system will continue to collapse and the nation continue to disintegrate.

The PM will need to do the following:

He must convert his rag-tag nda coalition into a proper federation.

The NDA's ad hoc functioning must end. It should be governed by the well-laid norms of a single federal organisation. This can be accomplished without diluting the state-level identity of any of its constituents.

He must totally reconstitute his cabinet and remove all those facing investigation or legal proceedings till they are cleared. That means the ministers involved in the Ayodhya case or in the uti case being probed by the jpc must quit until their names are cleared.

He must shift Mr Ranjan Bhattacharya from the PM's residence and stop using his services as an unofficial aide until the jpc completes its inquiry into the uti case.

These are only some of the steps the PM must take to earn his place in history. Is he willing? If so, he means business. If not, it's just business as usual.

If you want name and fame,
You must play the game,
Play it by its rules,
Ignore flattering fools!

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