13 April, 2021

Firm Sale, Infirm Power

The disinvestment war within the NDA is the PM's proxy struggle to establish his authority More Coverage

Firm Sale, Infirm Power
It was a day when India's disinvestment process could have been completely derailed. Last Wednesday, on the 141st birthday of the Father of the Nation, hectic parleys took place at key political addresses—including 7, Race Course Road and 6, Raisina Road. The anti-disinvestment trio of George Fernandes (defence minister), Ram Naik (petroleum minister) and Murli Manohar Joshi (HRD minister) met at the Joshi's residence to chalk out a detailed gameplan to nearly scuttle privatisation.

A few hours later, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee met his deputy, L.K. Advani. Elsewhere in the city, rss chief K.S. Sudarshan and disinvestment minister Arun Shourie were airing their own views on how the country should (or should not) sell its public assets. But first let's get to the gang of three and their meeting. Simply because that's what started the ball rolling.

Their intentions were obvious: crystallise pressure groups opposed to the current privatisation spree within the NDA to build a populist platform. In a nutshell, it meant that they wanted the existing...

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