Monday, May 09, 2005

Power play

NDTV 24*7 reports that the PMO has come up with a report evaluating each Union Minister’s performance – and benchmarking it against the promises made by the UPA in its Common Minimum Program. Here are a few reasons why I found this story particularly interesting.

1. The report-card didn’t seem to be just an eye-wash. It pointedly referred to certain failures of senior ministers (Home Minister Shivraj Patil being in the Andamans when the Tourist Reception Centre at Srinagar was attacked on the eve of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus, External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh’s failures in Nepal and Bangladesh).
2. The NDTV report also included a denial by the PMO of having undertaken any such report-card exercise.
3. All the ministers whose report-card was leaked were from the Congress – none from its allies in the UPA.

Here’s my theory. I suspect the PMO or some individual(s) has/have leaked the contents of the report to the media, and promptly denied the existence of this report. But why would they do that? Just last week, the opposition was crying hoarse on how the PM didn’t have control over his government. I’d imagine this move is the PM’s own way of asserting his power – even as he takes care not to damage his alliance (by not leaking reports on his alliance partners).

Nice move, Dr. Singh.

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