Monday, Sep 22, 2014

‘Stalling of legislature not the right answer to issues. You can convert every debate into an attack on the govt and you get more success’

Written by Shekhar Gupta | Posted: June 25, 2013 5:13 am

I am at Reis Magos,a 14th-century fort,one of the oldest forts in western India overlooking Panjim city in Goa. My guest today is one of India’s youngest and brightest chief ministers of one of India’s smallest,but not the least important,states. Manohar Parrikar,welcome to Walk the Talk. You’ve always been an important figure in Indian politics but you’ve never been at the centre stage as you’ve been in the past couple of weeks. So how have things changed in the last couple of weeks?

I don’t think I am at the centre stage except that probably an interview given by me triggered some reactions. I only acted as a catalyst. I don’t think the reactions were set by me. The catalysis point came in Goa (during the National Executive). I felt decision-making is an important aspect and that’s the biggest factor that’s missing in the country today. We don’t have proper decision-making ability. Everyone has an opinion and everyone tries to air his opinion through the media. Our politicians get way too influenced by this and instead of taking a firm decision,they stall that decision.

Does it apply only to the UPA and Congress or the BJP as well?

In general,it applies to all political parties. Because we watch 10 to 30 (TV) channels and each channel will have a different view and a different orientation to a programme.

If I read between the lines,you are saying that too many politicians are not strong enough to discount this noise?

They have not developed a system to filter the noise and take the right decision.

How do you deal with it?

I don’t watch TV too much. I see it only at night to see if there is some breaking news. If there is something important,I get a feedback from the department concerned.

So you don’t have to respond immediately?

You can respond immediately depending on the situation. I have responded within five minutes in situations that required such a response.

So politicians on both sides are not responding to immediate pressures at this moment?

At this moment,they tend to avoid decision-making because they are in two minds. They hear too many things and are confused—‘If I do this,this will be the outcome and if I do that,that will be the outcome’. ‘How will people see me if I do that?’ The ability to listen to everyone,then shut out everything and take a decision—that is lacking. That is the question I raised in the Executive. Two lines,I raised. When we are talking about Manmohan Singh not being decisive…

What were the two lines?

I said we are accusing the government of not taking decisions,calling it an indecisive government,saying it doesn’t move…

So Manmohan Singh doesn’t decide?

Virtually no one does in the government.

Well,Sonia Gandhi does. Apparently.

I strongly doubt that. Whenever there is a critical situation…I don’t think decision-making has been the hallmark of Mrs Gandhi or of Rahul (Gandhi). Most of the time,they disappear when there is a crisis.

So you said,we will go to the electorate and say,this government is indecisive…

Not continued…

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