Google ‘Advani Home Minister’ and five out of the top ten results say ‘Advani was the weakest home minister’. Although these results are the statement of one congress leader which was recently in the news about Mr. Advani’s stint as the home minister and hence do not show any popular belief or common perception, but I was a little surprised. Surprised as they did made an impact!
Since the comment in ‘The Advani Code- II’ by ‘Roti’ questioning the administration capabilities of the Prime Minister in waiting, I directly leaped to the chapter [of My country My Life] talking about his 6 years in the office of the home minister. It was another surprise and to be frank not a pleasant one. As far as my inference about the chapter goes it appeared to be more of an attempt aimed at self justification. A little self-righteously he sounds like explaining why things did not went the way he intended them to be.
During the whole chapter, the author is talking about what were the lapses of earlier governments, and how these lapses are responsible for the present condition of the country in the matters of internal security. He has stated many reasons for these failures and their possible solutions too. The shortcomings of the judicial system, the out dated machinery and methods of the police force, lack of strong laws and what not? The man knows about everything and almost everything. All in all it is some good amount of hard work which Mr. Advani has done as far as analyzing stuff goes.
After clearing the air in substantial amount of pages, he has talked about what steps he took as the then home minister for improving the internal security. Of these, the most important were the setting up of National Security Council [NSC], Group of Ministers [GoM] to examine national security system, constituting four task forces. The GoM gave 340 recommendations and all were accepted by the government and it initiated action on around two-thirds of them. He has also given some statistics regarding busting of 272 ISI linked modules during his regime whereas in the period of 1994-98 only 28 such modules were busted.
I am not here to discuss about the book, but to seek answer to the question if Mr. Advani, a master politician and a strategist par excellence, will be able to leave an equal mark as an administrator or not? Predicting anything about the future is not possible, but drawing some inferences from the past can surely help us in this regard.
All the high claims and moral talk by Mr. Advani after so much ‘chintan and manan’ might look impressive. But actually speaking it is a meagre fig leaf trying to hide the larger truth. First of all we know about the past and what went wrong, there is actually no need to glorify the mishaps and shortcomings, unless and until you are doing them in an attempt to underplay your mistakes. Moreover setting up of commissions, constituting committees, founding boards is the favourite pass time of all the governments. Tabling their suggestions and following them is what most ministers do, so what is new and scintillating about it? And statistics are just statistics which under no circumstances prove anything. And if all these steps were unique and so much fruit bearing then why don’t we see any changes on ground?
The point which I am trying to make here is simple. Not from a single word let alone page of ‘chapter-5 of Phase-5 of My Country My Life’ it appeared that during ‘At the Helm of Home Ministry’ Mr. Advani as an administrator was able to make a difference or leave a mark.
The biggest quality of a good administrator is the ability to make hard choices, even if your colleagues, subordinates, group or employees bad mouth you. This is the most important because if you don’t make choices than choices make you and in the latter case things never turn out the way you intend them to be. A good administrator always draws callous criticism for the hard choices he/she makes. When you want results, you have to make people work and your decisions can never make everyone happy. Hence an administrator par excellence always has more critics than admirers.
Mr. Advani is a person who is very concerned about his critics. He is very much particular about his criticism and do not want to give anyone even a single chance to say anything uneasy about him. He looks to be a man on a mission who is either trying to justify himself, so that people do not get in foul talks about him, or who do not want to upset anyone so that again they do not speak anything against him. In either case he does not want people to talk about him. There is no harm in these characteristics, but they take you away from being a strong and an effective administrator.
Undoubtedly Mr. Advani is a master strategist whose every move has meanings more than one can comprehend. He is someone whose politics is very hard to understand. But he is certainly not someone who really knows how to make a difference when it comes to administering things and that’s for sure.