The people have given the Congress a strong mandate to govern. While, true to democratic principles, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is bound to respect the opinions of his alliance partners, he should be more assertive while distributing the portfolios. He should evaluate whether the demand for a Ministry by an ally is justified. He should ensure that it is in the interests of the nation, and not made with any ulterior motive.
The pre-poll allies of the UPA are doing everything they can to get plum portfolios. Their claim that they intend extending unconditional support to the government and are not after ministerial berths is amusing.
The delay in finalising the allocation of portfolios is hardly surprising given the Congress party’s record of factionalism, which manifests itself whenever it has more number of legislators. The one lesson the political class should have learnt by now is that voter support can no longer be taken for granted. The only thing that matters for people is their rulers’ ability to provide strong and stable governance.
The Prime Minster should have a free hand in choosing his Cabinet so that the government can function effectively. One hopes maturity will dawn on all concerned and he will be allowed to have his way.
Now that the Congress-led UPA government is in a position of strength, it should stick to the principles of good governance and progress. It should put down communal and divisive forces with an iron hand.
Muslims expect a fair deal from the new government. They have played a significant role in the Congress party’s showing in the elections.
Rashid Ghani Khan,