Thursday, February 22, 2024

Aged UPA-II cabinet

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Editor,

At best the irony and the no-pun intended social message two recent Bollywood cinemas “Buddha Hoga Tera Baap” and “Bhaag Bhaag D.K. Bose” from Delhi Belly are well reflected in the UPA- 2’s much hyped cabinet reshuffle. While Amitabh Bacchan’s “Buddha Hoga Tera Baap” seems to suggest the man’s incapacity plus his stubborn effort to still fit into what we now know as the MTV Generation, the crass and slightly crude “Bhaag Bhaag DK Bose” seems to have caught the imagination of youth.

The reason for the weekend gross turn-over wherein Delhi Belly raked in more moolah than Amitabh Bacchan’s movie is indeed demographic dividend, since the former resonates with youth and they number more than half the population of this country today. To quote Rajdeep Sardesai, “Delhi Belly with its irreverent, almost blasphemous humour, has struck a chord with young India. Crude and crass as it may be, but DK Bose is clearly the flavour of the season” The much talked about cabinet reshuffle is a far cry from the Delhi Belly syndrome. It still reflects an old India. The average age of the ministers after the cabinet reshuffle is 65 years while 60 is the average age of UPA 2’s council of ministers. At 79 we still have SM Krishna heading the Ministry of External Affairs. Notwithstanding his Fulbright Scholarly aptitude, the man is as useless and defunct as the furniture in his plush South Block office. Many might still recall his near paralysis during the joint conference between him and his articulate Pakistani counterpart who unabashedly critiqued the then Indian Home Secretary or his feeble remarks at the Australian racist slurs.

Also as untenable as it may get, trouble shooter, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is indispensable. Whether it is to convince Baba Ramdev or talk to pro-Telangana supporters the party and the government just cannot do without him. Is it unfair to ascribe so much to wisdom and experience and thereby choke the life and ability of young probables?

While UPA may boast of Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Milind Deora and Agatha Sangma as representing the youthfulness and vibrancy of the Council of Ministers, it is also true that they come from influential political lineage. But young politicians across party lines are reluctant to speak on issues that directly affect generation next: be it employment, terrorism, corruption or even price rise. When such things appear, these very same faces of the youth take a back seat while the monotonous ‘experienced’ and ‘wise’ politicians take centre stage.

Here’s the world’s largest democracy with a robotic, cat-purring, softly whimpering man at the helm who is shy and discreet about making statements without 10 Janpath’s permission. His stoic silence during the entire 2G scam, the Common Wealth Games or the Maran controversy does not bode well. Is it enough to suddenly decide to call a closed-door selective media interaction just because that’s his way of functioning? As idiosyncratic as that may sound, he should at least have the authority to drop ministers and not to always blame it on ‘coalition-dharma.’

Yours etc.,

Albert W.Lanong

Mumbai

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