Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Heir to Dr. Singh?

First, it was his strong anti-corruption clean up act in notorious Defense Acquisition Process of India. Now, comes the news that he may be one of the handful of those principled Congress leaders who would have stood to the non-sense of Sanjay Gandhi. This is all on top of life long service in Indian Politics, all while remaining corruption-free which is such a big achievement in India. Meet the next PM of India - current Defense Minister AK Antony. 

Not that Congress / UPA is in any great shape to win the next year's general election. Overall economic failure of Dr. Singh in controlling prices is still glaring and lackluster performance by Congress's vote getter - Rahul Gandhi - is unabated. But there have been some speculations that Dr. Singh may not be ready for the third term as UPA PM. That is understandable and Congress indeed needs a new face. What is clear is Rahul Gandhi is absolutely not ready for prime time nor he is showing any willingness to step up to the task of governance. For good or bad, he and Sonia Gandhi have opted for now to a model where Gandhi Family focuses on Party and winning elections while someone else capable takes the reins of governance. For all the criticism of such a strategy, I still think it as a useful model of political governance in a vast country like India with a heavy of weight of history.

If the veteran hand P Chidambaram is able to slain demons of inflation in coming months, he can equally lay his claim for the premiership as a UPA candidate. But chances of that happening are low. Structural problems and supply side issues in Indian Economy compounded by deep rooted corruption cannot be addressed in just few months. Given that, what better opportunity than to project a clean leadership of AK Antony in the coming general election next year and committing the party for serious reforms to root out all pervasive corruption? Besides, no one in Congress Party would doubt sincerity of AK Antony, his loyalty to both Congress Party and Gandhi Family. It just seems time has come for the Congress Party to start preparing post-Dr. Singh era and AK Antony will play a pivotal role in that transformation. 

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