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(100 days of Kamalnath Sarkar)

Shashidhar .S. Kapur

Initially, after the Vidhan Sabha results , it was thought that history may be repeated in selecting the CM but the history creators of the past were history makers of today. So that didn’t happen. Subsequently, it was anticipated that there would be the usual drama for portfolios – that too didn’t happen . Finally, last minute trick of contesting the Speaker’s post by BJP to prevent Congress from playing its role effectively in Vidhan Sabha too boomeranged .The tables were completely turned on it when Congress snatched away even the deputy Speaker’s position. That set the tone. Thus after first round of sparring opposition took the hint and changed its strategy. It too adopted what has become the norm these days – the scorched earth tactic- lying low and waiting for the government to make mistakes. In earlier times ,it would be considered unfair to begin evaluating the government before the end of at least a year in office. Times changed and in the T20 era it became the norm to take stock after the first 100 days .In the days of 24/7 politics, there is continual evaluation now. Let’s mark the first 100 days of Kamalnath regime in this light. Given the tricky mandate, this government was supposed to hit the ground running.
True to the expectations , efforts were made from the word go to change the polity – from politics of delivery to politics of performance. Meaning executing more of whatever was promised and less of delivering whatever is demanded ad hoc – populism. Politics was more tactical with both parties in not- lose :not lose stance , given the close mandate .It was a cold war at best. Congress tried veering to corporate model than a descendancy / family run enterprise ; BJP attempted quietly to move away from Supremo to Kutumb controlled culture. Governance style was moderated and calibrated – less of regulation and more of governance. Both collective as well as cumulative leadership was in play besides the role of guardianship- leading from behind. The governance agenda was mostly about setting new departments and shutting down non- performing schemes .There was hardly any time to present a vision for various departments nor for any policy initiatives. The entire focus of administration was on delivering top priority of manifestos apart from the low hanging fruits. Administration expected to be bamboozled but there was a nuanced rearrangement . However, after a lull the floodgates broke loose. At the lower levels clearing the mess of politicalmeddling was most challenging in the light of erstwhile Karyakarta culture.

Only difference is that it is being done by the elected members than non- state actors. Administration is being nudged towards management – impression is of a dominating role of Politicians against BJP’s image of being controlled by bureaucrats. On the social front , the effort was to nudge it from communal to community- which is easier said than done. Relief and succor in case of hailstorm and mishaps was limited to monetary compensation- not many leaders reached out. Succour should not merely be given but also must be felt to be given-sympathy alongwith money is a relief multiplier .The signal is of a comparative lack of empathy in administration. Thinking on their feet ,the government had to make a few U- turns and roll backs. There was a talk of mentoring the ministers – including how to prepare replies for Vidhan Sabha questions which is odd given that all of them were made cabinet ministers. Administratively , many transfers and postings had to be switched almost immediately. There was the setback in the case of OBC reservation too. As for the media engagement , Kamalnath had to lift the blanket ban midway through. All said and done , what is that which is expected in the first 100 days ? In the context of the mandate it was to initiate delivery of top priority promises
besides some low hanging fruits. With no event , no major controversies ; no implosions or explosions it appeared status quo ante. In reality, it was
status quo ante – cum – kaam chalu aahe / (doing the same things differently –cum-removing different things.) A little below the surface , dismantling forces worked at twice the pace even if superficially the impression was not to rock the boat too much. All the CAG reports and investigations into various bodies have been initiated and funds to uncomfortable schemes have been dried.

From the Citizens’ point of view , it is worrisome that the agenda of both
major parties has become similar and there is hardly any recall value of the candidate .Besides, it is becoming quasi majoritarian or quasi totalitarian government , quasi dedicated and quasi committed bureaucracy, co-opted journalists or embedded scribes .The ordinary citizen has been converted into a mere voter with a sense of disenfranchisement. If as per the mandate 40% of the opposition manifesto is not included or good work continued the citizens would suffer. Instead , only the work o f their leaders are addressed – who act as brokers.

Kamalnath claims to have delivered 83 promises in 83 days -thereby he should be able to fulfill all the 372 manifesto points by mid term- and 974 promises by the end . Doing it is difficult , if not impossible. Having got the low hanging ones out of the way , the tricky ones could make the government stumble due to lack of a publicly shared vision by the midterm.
If I had to single out one path breaking stuff ,it would be initiating the process for Vidhan Parishad and avoiding vindictive politics viz. not abolishing Jan Abhiyan Parishad. Kamalnath would make history if he is able to do two things – take the economy to the next level – from agrarian to value added organic and widen the political engagement by Vidhan Parishad . Not only will it help the state but revive the Congress organisation too.
All thru these 100 days BJP tried many a time to push the government on back foot indirectly on the streets. They raised hue and cry about the deteriorating law and order in the case of some murders but administration was quick to nab the culprits who turned out to be saffronists. Their charge of scrapping welfare schemes does not bear on facts – barring the last minute scheme “ Sambal” no major scheme was stopped. Power cuts was sought to be made an issue but could not snowball since no major cuts happened. When it was claimed that farmers haven’t received loan waivers the government produced a list of 22 lakh recipients. When the issue of fake promises was raised a list of 83 fulfilled promises was shown. In short , Congress appeared nimble and ready for a street fight if BJP resorted to guerilla tactics via raids and poaching.

In this light , Achche Din are ensured in all scenarios of future – irrespective of the results in LS 2019. Only in the case , if BJP matches or surpasses its performance of 2014 that the state could be in trouble. Scindia is off to U.P. till 2022 , Diggi has come in front –perhaps Sandeep Dixit should be given a Rajya Sabha ticket and replace Bavaria as in-charge. Kamalnath should relinquish the Party chief position .The party too must get out of the electoral mode to organisation building stance.BJP is going to implode – the extent would depend upon the slide in LS seats. Rakesh Singh too should quit irrespective of results – should be sent to Rajya Sabha in case o f a loss. Failing which there is a chance for minor outfits like JAYAS, SAPAKS SP, BSP expanding their footprint, particularly in local elections.

Must bring out a white paper on the 14yr rule and seek closure in Vyapam, Bhopal gas tragedy , E- tendering etc. The Government must appoint its remaining ministers and present a Vision- to serve as a guideline for the unexpected – that not mentioned in manifesto. Else malgovernance, misgovernance is likely. Administratively , Policies and procedures need to be in place without any further delay- else wrath of government servants may revive. Social engineering of elections must pave way to social weaving – Sarva Jana Hitaya , Sarvadharma Sambhava .At the moment Kamalnath government seems to move in the right direction albeit with a wobbly orientation – like an automobile moving in the right direction but in reverse gear .Sooner or later ,it is going to crash.The implication is that due to lack of a shared vision the orientation is flawed whereby at every pressure point the government reverts to old Congress policies instead of innovative approach. This is counter to the BJP where the direction was wrong but orientation correct thereby at some point in time had to be a breakdown. The point is that opposition ought not mean “ reverse”
– it should signify “different” Congress would shoot itself in the foot only if it tries to disrespect the mandate and change more than 40 percent- in the ratio of its vote. Reviving the old Congress policies ,programmes beyond 15 percent would be dangerous. As they say , well begun is half done but then there is also a slip between the cup and the lip beyond the halfway mark. If soon after LS results, the vision of Congress vis-a -vis various ministries and policies are not announced , it’ll signal that Madhya Pradesh has merely a change of government and no change in the system. Accordingly, sooner than later old policies of Congress would
emerge ,even if in a new package. Depending on the course Congress charts MP could convert from a laboratory of Hindutva to a University of progressive, Universal Humanism or only a bump before another long Saffron innings.




 Direction correct – Changed from People’s to Public e.g. focusing on
manifesto than leaders

 Orientation flawed – Still Individual & Events centric than issues and concerns

 Key Decisions- Initiating Vidhan Parishad – Contesting Deputy Speaker.

 Course correction – Must revert the deputy speaker’s position to the


 Direction correct – Resuscitating the Agrarian sector.

 Orientation flawed – Opening the economy to resource exploitation – Data

 Key Decisions- HP Control and command Centres , Facebook mentoring
,Sun Pharma ,Chhindwara Model ; Textile Hubs , Food processing parks

 Course Correction -Resource allocation and data sharing on PPP model.


 Direction correct – Style correct : From Kutumb to Corporate

 Orientation flawed – Fashion odd : Concentration on projects and
schemes than Policies and programmes .

 Key Decisions -Freehand to the Cabinet ; reservation for OBC stayed in

 Course correction -Take governance to people- more cabinet meets/ VS
session out of Bhopal.

 Direction correct – Restoring Orientation flawed – shunning non-state actors

 Orientation flawed -Infringing autonomy –politicians trying to dominate
rather than lead

 Key Decisions RSS cleansing ; Micromanaging Transfers.

 Course correction – Put S.O.P’s in place .


 Direction correct – Initiating vernacular education.

 Orientation flawed – Skill training without capacity building

 Key Decisions -Gondi introduced ; Supporting traditional skills
Course correction – Engage the existing pool of Educators.


 Direction correct – Social security schemes continued

 Orientation flawed – Social outreach poor

 Key Decisions –15 percent OBC reservation.

 Course correction –Engage party workers /grassroots organisations for live social outreach.


 Direction correct – Shift to Ethno-Classic from Folk-Popular

 Orientation flawed – Cultural appeasement

 Key Decisions- narrowcasting Urdu; Setting up of the Department of

 Course correction- Revert the cultural aspects of Urdu remain with
Deptt. of culture while promotion of Urdu l anguage remain with
minorities deptt.



 Direction correct – Promoting those industries which provide jobs to

 Orientation flawed – Announcing skill training for band masters etc .
without jobs for others.

 Key Decisions -Swabhimaan Yojana

 Course correction –Focus on products /services by the youth ,for the youth.


 Direction correct – Empowering women

 Orientation flawed – Not enabling women

 Key Decisions -50 thousand for marriage .

 Course correction –Economic enabling by microcredit to women SHG’s


 Direction correct – Enhancing pension.

 Orientation flawed – No meaningful engagement of senior citizens.
 Key Decisions – Senior citizens to Kumbh by trainloads.

 Course correction – Engaging citizens with government outreach.

 Direction correct – IMR on top priority.

 Orientation flawed – Continuation of the previous mid –day meal regime

 Key Decisions – Egg not a priority in Mid- Day Meal; Data verification.

 Course correction – Community based management policy for malnutrition.


 Direction correct – Loan waiver , Power bills halved

 Orientation flawed – Nothing about productivity

 Key Decisions – Loan waiver , Power bills halved

 Course correction – Multiskilling farmers.


 Direction correct – Focus on MSME’s

 Orientation flawed – Targetting traders.

 Key Decisions – Announcing textile Hubs ; Gumashta made lifetime

 Course correction – Engage traders’ associations.


 Direction correct – Employee friendly approach

 Orientation flawed – Making scapegoats of junior employees in crisis.

 Key Decisions – Weekly offs for Policemen .

 Course correction – Immunise employees from political diktats.