17 April, 2021

The King's Chevalier Trio

Vajpayee's strategic core, to fight a protracted war against the swadeshi brigade, is finally in place

illustration by Jayanto
The King's Chevalier Trio
Three men with a pro-reforms image now head important ministries. With the recent reshuffle, it seems that PM Atal Behari Vajpayee will influence the immediate future of India's economic reforms. Arun Shourie, his blue-eyed man, now controls disinvestment, telecom and IT, three areas where the presence of a pro-reforms minister is critical. Jaswant Singh, his staunch supporter, was already the finance minister; his job is to somehow balance the pressures of wooing back the estranged middle class and ensuring fiscal discipline in this year's budget. The entry of Arun Jaitley, who's close to L.K. Advani, into commerce and industry signifies that a legal brain will now tackle the controversial and tricky WTO-related issues.

Well, it doesn't matter now that the trio itself was fighting to wrangle each other's portfolios. Jaitley was interested in telecom and IT as he was not keen to return to his earlier ministry (law & justice) but lost out a few hours before the swearing-in ceremony last Wednesday. Jaswant was keen to take additional charge of disinvestment but was prevented...
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