20 October, 2020

Mani McGrill, Served Hot

Aiyar was the sacrificed at the altar of an increasingly spineless foreign policy

Sandeep Adhwaryu
Mani McGrill, Served Hot
The long awaited cabinet reshuffle could have been dismissed as an exercise in coalition housekeeping and rewarding of the faithful, had it not been for one significant change of portfolio. This was the removal of Mani Shankar Aiyar from the petroleum ministry and the appointment of fund-raising party loyalist Murli Deora to this immensely sensitive post. Twenty months ago, when Aiyar was asked to take this portfolio besides panchayati raj (with which he has a father-son relationship since he drafted the relevant constitutional amendment bill for the late PM Rajiv Gandhi), his objections were brushed aside on the grounds that he was one minister on whose integrity the party could place complete faith.

In the past year, Aiyar had demonstrated that honesty is only one of his virtues. The others are—an instinctive understanding of the geopolitics of oil, a capacity to plan years ahead in a shrinking and incredibly competitive oil market, and a decisiveness in action that is alien to Indian politics. So, why was Aiyar moved? One answer could be that this accumulation of...


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