India’s regent Prime Minister

A slew of articles have appeared recently in foreign press, including Time Magazine, Foreign Affairs and The Economist, on the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s leadership abilities. After the departure of Pranab Mukherjee from the finance ministry, the PM has taken over his original job. He is credited for having fathered the economic liberalisation process in India as finance minister in the 1990s. However, somewhere between the criticism and counter-criticism and the rhetoric on good and bad economics, people seem to have missed the original reason for the mess in the Singh government. One of the first agencies to criticise the government was Standard and Poor’s (S&P), which pointed out 10 reasons for a possible downgrading of India’s credit ratings. Five of these reasons were clearly political: divided leadership, Sonia Gandhi holding no cabinet position, an unelected PM who has no political base, his limited influence over the cabinet, and the Congress party being divided on economic policies.

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In Robert Vadra’s Wake

ON THE last two days of the Rae Bareli campaign, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s arrival is a much awaited event in Unchahar, a rural Assembly seat in Sonia Gandhi’s constituency. A patient bunch waits by a tea stall at Sahebganj, where the roadshow will begin. They are discussing the grand rallies addressed by Sonia Gandhi, Rajnath Singh, and Akhilesh Yadav. All the VIPs were here to woo the most high-profile constituency in the country.

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