In this Walk the Talk on NDTV 24×7 with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, former Union minister Arun Shourie talks about the tasks for the new government, the Gujarat CM’s style of working, the “understanding” that Modi could reach with the RSS and the fall in stature of the PMO.
These polls are being described as the most significant elections in India’s history although, you will agree, every election in India is called that.
That and, in 1977, when the Emergency was being voted upon. Yes, so everything is significant.
Everything is significant, except people like us can say, ‘Hamare time mein zyaada important tha (Things were more important during our days)’. But this election is different in the sense that you might see a change of not just parties or a coalition, but a change of character, temperament, style, ideology.
There will be a change in the sense that it is a presidential election… The people, local candidates mattered a lot, the parties mattered a lot. But this time, only one figure… His critics have made him (that), and the nature of Modi’s own campaign…
Either vote for or against Narendra Modi.
That’s the issue. And naturally, Modi is a very different person from Dr Manmohan Singh and others whom we have seen. Therefore, the style of governance will completely change. I think it’ll be much more centred around the prime minister’s office, the Cabinet Secretariat — 30 secretaries appointed directly by the prime minister — and the government run through them.
I had written in 2007, the day before the results in Gujarat, that if Modi wins, and I had sort of stuck my neck out, that he will not defer to the RSS as, say, Atal Bihari Vajpayee or L K Advani did.
I think Vajpayee did not defer, but he was able to manage. In Modi’s case, I think, there will be a clear understanding and, if the understanding works, the RSS can monitor the conduct of individual members of the BJP who become MPs or ministers and leave policy formation to the government. I think that is a good division of labour. Probably Modi will ensure that.
You also might see over-correction. But the fact is that the prime minister’s office needs to have its — for want of a better word in English — iqbal restored.
To what do you …continued »