If the impasse over the Indo-US Nuclear Deal explained the policy paralysis of a delinquent Government at the Center, one must wonder what explains the current spell of dysfunctional governance ?

433 news releases by the Press Information Bureau in the last 30 days.

Not one on the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, CCEA. 

None on the Cabinet Committee on Security, CCS either.

None on from any of the myriad Group of Ministers, GoM with anything significant to report.

None from any of the  many empowered Group of Ministers, eGoM either that Pranab Mukherjee chairs.

34 Press Releases with references to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Almost all of them have to do with the Prime Minister inaugrating some conference. With the exception of the Chief Minister’s Conference which saw some sharp policy differences between the Prime Minister and the rising star of the BJP, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, there was hardly anything substantial that the Prime Minister said or did. If that clash brought to fore Manmohan Singh’s Communal Socialism this particular release by the PIB hardly received any press coverage.

Any guesses what this is about ?

please look at the arrangements that are being made for the comfort of our pilgrims. Whatever efforts were required, we made. We have Antulay Ji, Ahmed Saheb, Pranab Mukherjee Saheb, they have taken great pains to ensure that our pilgrims are looked after well. But, if there are any deficiencies, you can point that out and the officials on the spot will be available to set matters right. So with these words, I once again congratulate you for undertaking this sacred pilgrimage. May the purpose for which you are performing this sacred pilgrimage be successful

The Prime Minister taking time out from his busy schedule while not fighting the War on Terror, while not dealing with Internal Security and not while not securing Indian Strategic Interests to meet with the Haj Goodwill Delegation.

Karan Thapar today wrote an editorial on the Modification of Politics. The piece is honest in its assessment of the likely future impact of Mr. Modi on national politics but it is Thapar’s response to what he calls “Modification” that is amusing.

there is only one person who can do that …. She has to rival Modi’s appeal — both his magnetism and his myth — and symbolise the alternate vision

No not Mayawati. Thapar is not that imaginative.

It’s Sonia Gandhi. It may be an irony that an Italian-born woman, a widow who till 1998 detested politics, should transform into one of the twin poles of Indian politics, but it could also be an inescapable fact. No other person from the anti-BJP parties has the appeal or the nation-wide image to rival Modi.

Offstumped Bottomline: As we enter 2008 the choices will be stark and clear. The likes of Thapar will continue to be in denial that is about being for or against so called liberalism/secularism but the reality is different. It will be a choice between

Executive Delinquency of the Manmohan Singh variety that stoops to appease special interests, Islamist ones at that, or a Strong Executive that delivers while pandering to none.

Events across the border in Pakistan will make an uncompromising attitude on National Security the defining issue in 2008. Manmohan Singh’s lack of leadership, insomina and amnesia will come back to haunt.

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