Across the Aisle: Confessions of a stricken conscience
December 27, 2015
Across the Aisle: Price of procrastination
January 8, 2016

Across the aisle: New Year resolutions for the NDA government

I don’t like making New Year resolutions, but I am happy to make resolutions for others in the sure belief that they will be broken before the week is over. There is no fun in making resolutions for the poor, the meek or the peacemakers. It is better to make resolutions for the high and mighty, and watch the fun while they break them. Who or what is the most omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient entity in the country today? Undoubtedly, the Modi government, or so it is believed by a cross-section of the people, especially those who wear bespoken suits, the media, the 281 elected + 2 (nominated) MPs of the Lok Sabha, the happy family called the Sangh parivar, the swayamsevaks and the never-say-die bhakhts. So, indulge me, while I propose some New Year resolutions for the government of Mr Narendra Modi.

1. We shall impress upon the Prime Minister that he should visit different parts of India, a country just as lovely as the United States or France or China or Japan or Fiji, and address the people of India who are just as friendly as the bhaiyon aur behnon who had gathered in large numbers at Madison Square garden or the Wembley stadium. We believe that the 31 per cent of the resident voters who voted for the NDA are entitled to see and hear the Prime Minister as much as the non-resident potential voters.

2. We shall read the riot Act to the compulsive talkers in the government and the party and issue an order that they shall forthwith stop unburdening themselves of their pet theories and edicts. If they cannot, then, they should do so only in one of two languages — Prakrit or Pali — and no translations shall be issued to the media.

For the economy

3. We shall temper expectations — and estimates — of GDP growth in small steps. We erred in taking a giant leap from the original estimate of 8.5 per cent in January 2015 to 7.3 per cent in December 2015. Small steps are less noticed. A small step for the finance minister, a giant step for the economy.

4. We shall do a mutual change of positions between Dr Raghuram Rajan and Dr Arvind Subramanian. That will allow Dr Subramanian, the governor of the RBI, to cut the interest rate (his long cherished desire) and Dr Rajan, the Chief Economic Adviser, to cut the fiscal deficit (his long cherished desire).

For good governance

5. We shall revise the charters of the main agencies. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will be the new National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC); the Intelligence Bureau (IB) will be the new Press Information Bureau (PIB); and the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) will be the new Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The charters of other agencies will be revised after due consultation with the RSS.

6. We shall adopt the slogan “chalo chalein Amit Shah ke saath” in the five state Assembly elections of 2016. Since we do not expect to win in any of the five, we don’t have to project any one as chief minister. God unwilling, suppose we win, we shall appoint Mr Amit Shah as the chief minister of that state.

For our friends and unfriends

7. We shall promulgate an ordinance to permit cricket associations (especially Rajasthan CA) to have their offices and hold meetings of their executive committee and general body outside India. This will enable Mr Lalit Modi to attend meetings of the RCA on compassionate grounds and disable the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from searching the venue.

8. We shall restore the position of a sole municipal corporation for Delhi and vest in the MCD all the powers now assigned to the government of the Union Territory. Between two evenly-empowered functionaries (the LG and the Mayor), Mr Arvind Kejriwal will be the odd man. We shall reserve the right to proclaim martial law in Delhi and to appoint the Police Commissioner as the martial law administrator (mainly to control the traffic, pollution and commissions of inquiry).

9. We shall persuade the Prime Minister to grant a free-wheeling interview to the Times Now channel with one change — the interview will be done by the Jain brothers who own the channel. The Nation and the Jain brothers want to know what the Prime Minister thinks of Mr Arnab Goswami.

10. We shall finally carry out the long-promised Cabinet reshuffle: The new portfolios of the top four (who cannot be moved out of North or South Blocks) will be: Mr Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister; Ms Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister; Mr Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister; and Mr Manohar Parrikar, External Affairs Minister. So, instead of square pegs in round holes we will have round pegs in square holes. Happy New Year!