The Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, has claimed that the prime minister hardly consults his senior ministers.
If Rahul Gandhi is to be believed, then Smt Sushma Swaraj is not consulted on the Pakistan policy, Rajnath Singh was unaware of the Nagaland accord and, presumably, I am unaware of the Budget proposals.
As one evolves from a young to a middle-aged one, we certainly expect a certain level of maturity. The more I hear Rahul Gandhi, the more I start wondering “how much does he know – when will he know”.
The prime minister should be the natural leader of the party and the government. In the NDA it is so. The UPA was quite different. The prime minister is to lead by example. The present prime minister not only works hard and involves himself in the functioning of the various departments of the government, but inspires his team to work harder than we would have normally.
Each one of us, whether the external affairs minister, home minister or myself, are responsible for each important decision taken by each of one departments. We do not by-pass the prime minister who is always available for consultation and guidance. After hearing Shri Rahul Gandhi, I think India has made the right choice between the prime minister who leads the government and a prime minister who is merely implementing decisions taken elsewhere.
Rahul Gandhi’s views are shaped by the environment of a political party which has evolved into a “crowd around a family”.
The UPA model of governance was that if a person outside the family is the prime minister, he should be reduced to being a figurehead. Given a choice between a “hands-on” prime minister or a “nominal” head, I would unhesitatingly choose the former.
Arun Jaitley is the Union Finance Minister of India.