A concept note circulated on the proposed museum for former prime ministers had noted that India was often said to have evolved “into an almost Presidential-style parliamentary democracy.” The note which was an annexure to the agenda for a July 2018 Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) Society meeting was circulated amongst its members for discussion.
Referring to the Prime Minister’s position, the note states: “This position has only gained strength over the decades though there have been ebbs and flows, reflecting the immediate political realities. It is often said that India has evolved into an almost Presidential-style parliamentary democracy. This is quite different in other countries following the Westminster model.”
Further, it pointed out, “Unlike the standard Westminster parliamentary model, where the Prime Minister was the ‘first among equals’, in India right from the early days of independence, the position was different. The Prime Minister assumed leadership of the Council of Ministers, issuing directions to individual ministers, became not just the coordinator of the government but actually its driving force for the most part.”
NMML Director Shakti Sinha clarified that the note, which was authored by him, was “descriptive” and not an “advocacy” note. “Now that the new museum has been approved, this note is no longer relevant. It was only meant as a descriptive note and not for advocacy,” he told The Indian Express.
The note, also refers to letters exchanged between Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel on “what the Prime Minister can and cannot do.” It goes on to describe the Prime Minister’s position as the “nucleus around which the government was organised…”