A Government in Power but not in Charge

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Senior ministers, overcome by hubris, have been maintaining that it will be business as usual till the polls. Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said Cabinet meetings would take place right up to the end of the present administration’s term and proposals cleared “based on decisions announced earlier”.

Chidambaram was not wrong in saying that the Government has the freedom to follow up on proposals that have already been announced. But this may not turn out to be easy, as officials and experts are on overdrive to de-couple from the present regime at the Centre.

The troubles experienced by the Government over the Lokpal search committee are a case in point. Fali S Nariman and Justice KT Thomas have refused to serve on the search panel as they suspect that the process is not transparent and not intended to select the best man for the post of national ombudsman. Predictably, the Government’s opponents have cited the development as a clear sign of the UPA’s isolation.

The Government’s efforts to constitute a judicial commission to probe Snoopgate charges against the Gujarat government’s leadership have also come unstuck as no judge is willing to head such a panel.

All of this goes to show that though the Government is in power, it may no longer be in charge.