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Tuhin A Sinha
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 10 : 22

Cabinet reshuffle: the dampest squib


The much hyped cabinet re-shuffle by our PM, has unsurprisingly, turned out to be yet another non-event.

Dr Manmohan Singh, true to his meek, evasive style, has dared not touch the two ministries that are responsible for most of the government's woes - the External Affairs and Finance Ministries. Instead an honest (even though whimsical) Environment Minister has been shunted out to another Ministry. Apparently this could be an attempt to bring the Environment Ministry at par with the higher levels of corruption rampant in other ministries. So one shouldn't be surprised if contentious industrial projects now get instant environmental clearances or if new townships/constructions flouting environmental norms are given an easy go-ahead.

Railways, which urgently needed a dynamic leader, remains usurped by temperamental coalition partner. The average age of the ministry remains just as old, with the PM showing little or no faith in the party's hyped youth brigade. Not one of them finds a Cabinet rank.

Nobody in his right senses expects miracles from Dr. Singh. But what disappoints is the sheer absence of effort or intentions. Our erudite PM perhaps doesn't realize that these peripheral alternations don't qualify to be called Cabinet re-shuffle. As a political analyst whose name I forget, bluntly noted on a debate on NDTV recently, "You could have expected Dr. Singh to be the PM for 2 or 3 years, not 7 years. The PM has simply exhausted his legitimacy."

Nothing can manifest this better than the way the former MOS for Railways Mukul Roy snubbed the PM just a day before the re-shuffle. Sadly, the PM has squandered away another opportunity, perhaps his last (since the PM believes this is the last re-shuffle before 2014 elections) to set things right. After all, a captain is as good as his team and vice versa. What never ceases to amaze though is how a captain and his team, as mutually mediocre as this, could master the art of staying afloat.


More about Tuhin A Sinha

Tuhin A Sinha is among the best-selling authors in India, a columnist and a screenwriter. Starting in 2006 with his first book, That Thing Called Love, an unconventional romance set in a Mumbai monsoon, Tuhin has written five novels. They include The Captain (formerly 22 Yards), Of Love And Politics, The Edge of Desire and The Edge Of Power. Tuhin is acknowledged among the most prolific Indian writers with a maverick knack to experiment with new genres. While his first book was an offbeat romance, The Captain was a cricket thriller that explored the underbelly of modern cricket. Of Love And Politics was a political thriller. His last two books which comprise the Edge series can be called socio-political thrillers with a strong feminist skew. Tuhin is a screenwriter of several popular TV shows, the most noteworthy being Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai on Star Plus. Apart from his fiction novels and scripts, Tuhin is a keen political observer. His columns on Indian politics appear regularly in India’s leading dailies. Tuhin has a regular blog on ibnlive.com. He also appears frequently on news channels on discussions around politics and cricket.