17 May, 2021

A Hamlet For Delhi

Antony can be firm, but is seen as soft and dithering

A Hamlet For Delhi

What lies tucked behind the clutch of sobriquets used to describe Union defence minister A.K. Antony, currently in a bitter battle with his army chief? “Hamlet of Kerala” is one of the first, when he unwillingly donned the Kerala chief minister’s mantle in 1977 at the age of 37, after K. Karunakaran was forced to step down in the wake of the Rajan murder case. This “image-conscious” politician, observers say, is often shackled by his “Mr White” image, something he has taken great pains to keep spotless—literally and metaphorically—through the ups and downs of his political career.

Yet, this clean image is besmirched, not because of any wrongdoing, but by Antony’s style of decision-making. Or the lack of it. During his three tenures as CM of Kerala, the only oft-heard criticism about Antony was the absence of purposive decision-making. “Everybody knows Antony is clean, but as Kerala CM he was not effective. He did not take any tough decision as he did not believe anybody,...

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