A Nameless Indian Speaks:Why Modi needs good advisers
Famous leaders in the history who achieved greatness did so not based on the strength of their caliber alone, but because they were accompanied by wise advisors and ministers.
Whether it was India’s first great ruler Chandragupta Maurya before the Christian era or emperor Akbar in the medieval period – they were bothbacked by great strategists like Chanakya and the Navratnas. It was Chanakya who created a great leaderlike Chandragupta Maurya. Similarly, the nine gems in Akbar’s administrative set up like Birbal, Todarmal etc. helped Akbar achieve the status of ‘Akbar the great’.
But, why am I discussing this in this column? Because, as a common man – I, a nameless, faceless Indian who can hardly make his voice reach the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wants him to take a note of it.
The citizens of this nation whole-heartedly voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) so that they could see Modi as the PM of the nation. But, why only Mr Modi– Because we saw in him a strong, determined personality, who could lead the nation from front and bring the country and its people out of the misery they have been facing for over a decade.
But to actualize the dreams of 1.2 billion Indians, the PM needs to have the right kind of advisors around him, on whom he can have complete trust. And, this is not for the PM alone; his council of ministers too should be guided by right kind of advisors (babus or bureaucrats).
The recent railway fare hike is a case in point. It was the NDA government’s first interaction with the public after coming to power in the form of a major announcement. Though Modi gave a hint that ‘bitter pills’ needed to be administered to ameliorate financial woes, the sudden and unexpected fare hike by the railway minister ahead of the railway budget, has put the common man in a spot.
I’m in no position to analyse whether the step taken was correct or some other measure should have been adopted; but as a part of the larger electorate I feel any decision taken in haste and within a short period of coming to power can prove detrimental.
Mr Modi and his cabinet colleagues need to be extremely careful in keeping advisors in the team. It’s a common practice that the bureaucrat who has been working in a particular department or ministry continues to do so or at the most get transferred to another ministry. Here the PM and his team should remember that these babus have been working for decades with the Congress-led governments, and many may still have unquestionable loyalty towards the party.
The new government at the Centre which has often been branded as ‘right-wing’ or ‘ a party with nationalistic Hindutva agenda’, won’t go down well with these ‘loyal babus’, who are now working for the new government. It may sound bizarre but it’s true that their interests still lie with the Congress. At the core of their heart, they would like to serve the Congress ministers rather than the BJP ones.
The benefits they accrued during the Congress Raj and the comfort level they shared with Congress’ ministers can compel them to remain loyal to their past masters.
Mr Modi therefore needs to be extremely careful of not falling into the trap of ‘ill-advisors’, who may jeopardise the dream that he has seen to make India a great and powerful nation. These babus may mislead the new ministers to take ‘anti-people’ decisions, which could damage the newly-formed NDA government’s image. In much haste, the railway ministry announced fare hike and later when confronted by none other than its own Members of Parliament from Maharashtra and BJP’s general secretary Amit Shah, the railway minister had to rollback the increased fare of Mumbai local trains. But, it was only for Mumbai locals, considering the forthcoming Assembly election in the state.
Everyone is aware of the repercussions of the fare hike. The Congress and other political parties like the Left, the Samajwadi Party etc. were up in arms against the decision. It gave the media, the intellectuals, the political pundits and the Opposition an opportunity to vehemently criticise the Modi government. Why did it happen? Why didn’t the officials and the decision-makers in the railway ministry caution the government against such an ‘anti-people’ move? Not to forget, these high officials were also a part of the UPA regime. Is it their loyalty towards the Congress that prevented them from giving the right advice to the railway minister? should ring the bell.
Mr PM, the aam aadmi that gave you the unprecedented mandate, harbours a renewed hope, aspiration within his heart for a better India. Your voters are eagerly waiting to see the fulfillment of promise you made to them during your election campaign– “Achche Din Aanewaale Hain.”
Don’t let the babudom that still has loyalty and gratitude towards the ministers of the previous UPA-led government cast its bad spell on the ministers in your government.
(The opinion expressed in this column is solely that of the writer – A Nameless Indian)