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Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
Outlook.com
Review

Comments From The Ringside

The 'outsider' analysis has value, but a wariness of messy democracy lurks in his prescriptions

Comments From The Ringside
Comments From The Ringside
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

But I can say, with hand on my heart, that this is the kind of book I like to read. It is not overly long, and written in plain English. It is easy to read and clear in its arguments, even funny, if you catch his digs at the working of government and Parliament. As an insider, Bimal is concerned about our politics, governance and delivery system.

Take coalition governments. They are here to stay since the 1996 election. Bimal is concerned at the trend: small parties holding power out of all proportion to the number of MPs they have, exercising power in almost whimsical ways, paying little attention to the collective responsibility of the cabinet. In 1996, conventional wisdom decried coalition governments. Single-party rule, everyone believed, was the only way to stop things falling apart. But as CEC, I felt it was not logical to have a billion people ruled by a single party. Coalitions gave more meaning to federal India. Indians were clever, and would learn to run them, as well as Scandinavians, Chileans, Israelis and the Swiss. The future, I believed, would be a left of centre group led by the Congress, fighting the right of centre, led by the bjp. This has started happening. The nda lasted its full term, and the current upa government is well on the way to doing so. I agree that the little parties have more than their share of ministries, and cabinet responsibility needs to be tighter. But I’m confident this will happen, sooner or later.

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