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 Indias youngest and brightest chief ministers of one of Indias smallest,but not the least important,states. Manohar Parrikar,welcome to Walk the Talk. Youve always been an important figure in Indian politics but youve never been at the centre stage as youve been in the past couple of weeks. So how have things changed in the last couple of weeks?
I dont 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 dont 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 thats the biggest factor thats missing in the country today. We dont 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 dont 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 dont 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 confusedIf 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 decisionthat 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 doesnt move…
So Manmohan Singh doesnt decide?
Virtually no one does in the government.
Well,Sonia Gandhi does. Apparently.
I strongly doubt that. Whenever there is a critical situation…I dont 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…
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