Modi Govt best model of demo­cratic lead­er­ship

Bureaucracy Today - - Guest Column - (The au­thor be­longed to the 1960 batch of the In­dian Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ser­vice. He is one of the em­i­nent pub­lic ser­vants of In­dia. He held im­por­tant po­si­tions in the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, the most prom­i­nent of them be­ing the PESB Chair­man and chief of the Cen

In­dia is in its 70th year of In­de­pen­dence. In these seven decades we have wit­nessed dif­fer­ent mod­els of demo­cratic lead­er­ship.

The cur­rent se­ries of di­rect ac­tion by civil so­ci­ety ac­tivists started with Anna Hazare’s move­ment in 2010 for the Jan Lok­pal. Arvind Ke­jri­wal (AK), who was his as­so­ciate in that pop­u­lar me­dia-savvy cam­paign, parted ways with the Gand­hian style of Anna and launched his own po­lit­i­cal party-the Aam Aadmi Party. The AAP was a new star in In­dian pol­i­tics that fo­cused at­ten­tion on the sin­gle is­sue of cor­rup­tion in pub­lic life.

Ke­jri­wal rep­re­sented the angst of the ur­ban ed­u­cated mid­dle class which had enough of the cyn­i­cal amoral style of the po­lit­i­cal lead­ers of to­day. They were sick of the cul­ture of cor­rup­tion but al­ways afraid of en­ter­ing the rough and tum­ble of pol­i­tics. AK rushed where angels had feared to tread so far and the AAP was the re­sult.

In In­dia, at the time of In­de­pen­dence we adopted the Bri­tish pat­tern of par­lia­men­tary democ­racy al­most as a nat­u­ral de­vel­op­ment. It seems to have worked in a ro­bust man­ner for these seven decades.

While we can be happy with the track record of In­de­pen­dent In­dia so far, it will be worth ex­am­in­ing which Prime Min­is­ter or Gov­ern­ment dis­played the best model of demo­cratic lead­er­ship.

The 11 Prime Min­is­ters who have held the of­fice since In­de­pen­dence so far have left us broadly with four types of po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship mod­els.

The first type is the pure demo­cratic model in­spired by the Bri­tish Par­lia­ment with a his­tory of 700 years. This was nat­u­ral as we were a Bri­tish colony. Our first two Prime Min­is­ters, Jawa­har­lal Nehru and Lal Ba­hadur Shas­tri, per­formed the vi­tal func­tion of pre­sid­ing over the weld­ing of our huge coun­try into a sin­gle mod­ern na­tion and mak­ing it into the largest func­tion­ing democ­racy in the world.They built vi­tal in­sti­tu­tions like the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion and a free Press. Lal Ba­hadur Shas­tri showed great mo­ral courage and lead­er­ship and in­tegrity in pub­lic life un­matched by any of his suc­ces­sors so far, till Naren­dra Modi formed his Gov­ern­ment in 2014.

The sec­ond type of a strong po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship was ush­ered in by our third PM, Indira Gandhi. She held of­fice in two spells for 15 years. The first spell of 11 years (1966 to 1977) saw many pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ments like the Green Revo­lu­tion and the White Revo­lu­tion.

How­ever, one sad legacy of Indira Gandhi was that the Congress be­came to­tally de­pen­dent on the Nehru-Gandhi dy­nasty. The legacy was car­ried for­ward by his son, Ra­jiv Gandhi.

The third model of po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship was dis­played by non-Congress Prime Min­is­ters Mo­rarji De­sai, Cha­ran Singh, Deve Gowda, In­der Ku­mar Gu­jral and Chan­dra Shekhar. These Gov­ern­ments were the coali­tions dom­i­nated by re­gional par­ties and par­ties based on castes and com­mu­ni­ties. PV Narasimha Rao, who was the Prime Min­is­ter hail­ing from the Congress Party, needs to be clas­si­fied as a unique leader of democ­racy.

Modi Sarkar which came to power in 2014 rep­re­sents a fourth type of po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship. Firmly rooted in the cul­ture and tra­di­tion of In­dia and de­ter­mined to pro­vide de­vel­op­ment through good gov­er­nance, this ap­pears to me to be the best or­gan­ised and struc­tured model of demo­cratic po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship so far.

It is sig­nif­i­cant that two years since com­ing to power, the Modi Gov­ern­ment is free of any whiff of cor­rup­tion. In ad­di­tion, a lot of ini­tia­tives for de­vel­op­ment have taken place. The PM has taken a lead in im­prov­ing the in­ter­na­tional im­age of our coun­try.

The wide-rang­ing Cabi­net reshuf­fle in July 2016 by Modi showed that mer­i­toc­racy pre­vails in his Gov­ern­ment where per­form­ers are re­warded and non-per­form­ers qui­etly dropped.

Modi Sarkar thus passes both our tests for demo­cratic lead­er­ship. This is per­haps the best type of well-struc­tured po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship we have had in In­de­pen­dent In­dia so far.

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