Congress-led UPA government of which the NCP was a part of, which have been included in the Marathi version ‘Lok Mazhe Sangati’, are missing from the English edition.
These chapters refer to how the presence of multiple power centres in the government affected decision making.
Known for his legendary networking skills, NCP chief and former Union minister Sharad Pawar may have achieved the impossible by ensuring that leaders across the political spectrum attended his birthday celebrations in Delhi last week.However, his autobiography ‘On My Terms: From the Grassroots to the Corridors of Power’ which was released during the function may turn out to be controversial. Two scathing chapters about theCongress-led UPA government of which the NCP was a part of, which have been included in the Marathi version ‘Lok Mazhe Sangati’, are missing from the English edition. These chapters refer to how the presence of multiple power centres in the government affected decision making.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The chapters also explain how the big-brother attitude of the Congress, the cardinal mistake of the party in reducing the importance of the co-ordination committee and not taking allies into confidence and cutting down to size of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his silence, together affected decision making of the alliance government.This gives rise to a moot question: were these two chapters, which were originally included in the English version, dropped in an attempt to build bridges with Congress president Sonia Gandhi? Does this have any relevance to the 2017 Presidential elections where Pawar is said to be in the reckoning?Pawar also dropped a bombshell in the book claiming that many “bitter but essential decisions” were being deferred because the National Advisory Council (NAC) under Gandhi was opposed to it. “Policy paralysis reached an extent that I arrived at a conclusion that there was no point in remaining in a government which had lost the authority to take decisions. Eventually, my cabinet colleague Praful Patel and myself submitted our resignations to the Prime Minister in frustration,” said Pawar, adding that they withdrew after Singh’s promise to speed up the decision making process.The NAC started exerting more influence under UPA-II and Pawar noted that this covered policies, appointments and transfers of bureacrats and office-bearers and “this unnecessary interference devalued the post of the Prime Minister.”“Though nobody was intervening in my ministry, I was upset at the way in which the Union cabinet’s powers were being encroached upon. I was very frustrated about it,” writes Pawar, adding that while they respected Singh’s contribution and intelligence, “the chief of the government needed to take a firm stand on issues of national importance. It was impossible to digest Dr Manmohan Singh’s policy of turning a blind eye to a decision while knowing that it was against the national interest.” This also affected the morale of the Congress party.Pawar noted that the consultative decision making process during the tenure of UPA-I was replaced by the Congress in its subsequent term as its numbers in the coalition went up. Instead, the NAC was “unnecessarily promoted.”“There was confusion in the decision making processes since there was more than one power centre in the government. During this time, the most fundamental change happened in Dr Manmohan Singh’s style of leadership. He went into a cocoon and his dialogue almost stopped,” said Pawar, adding that this led to a series of political disasters culminating in the 2014 defeat. The 2G spectrum scam which broke immediately after UPA-II came to power in 2009 also affected the government’s image and the Nirbhaya rape case in 2012 and the anti-corruption agitation too hurt it.The CAG’s observations about the faulty allotment of coal blocks in the 2004 to 2009 period leading to a Rs 1.85 lakh crore notional loss also led to Singh, who held charge of the ministry in the period, being put into the dock.
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