So, it all started with a post work, casual conversation that I was having with my dad. The dutiful daughter that I am (self-proclaimed of course) I call my dad and mom every alternate day. That way, I can speak to the parental unit every day and still split them up and provide individual attention. How efficient am I?! As it usually happens somehow, we end up discussing politics, much to my chagrin. The good part though is that it serves as a brief summary of what’s happening in the world. The news shorts, if you will….It was in one of those after work conversations that my dad asked me a pertinent question… “Who is the ideal Prime Minister according to you?”
My immediate response was Shashi Tharoor, affiliated with Congress, having held portfolios such as External Affairs, Human Resource Development as well as Under General Secretary of the United Nations, to which he laughed, and said that while he might tick quite a few checkboxes, his political chops were not really up to the mark. He’s suave, he’s sophisticated and a lot more that he’d be a great representative of our nation…not him though. (Dad’s opinion, not mine). We then considered a host of people and then thought Sachin Pilot? Maybe…Not that anyone is consulting the George family in political matters affecting the nation, but in case they did, now you know, how we would swing…
Which brought us to the seven elements of the ideal prime minister for a nation, big and diverse such as ours. And before we go further, may I add that this is by no means a criticism of the current head honcho. This is merely a tasteful critique, at best. We agreed that the ideal prime minister should be:
Intelligent | Non negotiable | Required for a country as diverse and complex as ours. Think Arvind Kejriwal. current chief minister of Delhi, and one of the founders of the Aam Aadmi Party. A former bureaucrat and an IIT Kharagpur graduate. How’s that for intelligence?
Well educated | Non negotiable | Regardless of whether the degree was obtained on foreign soil or local, the ideal Prime Minister should at least be a college graduate. Considering the emphasis India puts on education, this is a no brainer. Mahua Moitra, member of the Trinamool Congress Party or simply TMC is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College. So far, so good?
Exposure to corporate culture | Negotiable | Either should have been the CEO of an organization or should have been part of a set up akin to one. Raghuram Rajan comes to mind. Rajan was the former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). No political affiliations but certainly would be a great candidate.
Held multiple portfolios | Non negotiable | This was a toughie...Rajnath Singh from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Mamata Banerjee from TMC vied for the spot. Currently serving as Defense Minister, Rajnath has been the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and a cabinet minister in the Vajpayee government. ‘Didi’ on the other hand has held portfolios such as Railways, Coal And Mining and is now the Chief Minister of West Bengal and is on her record third term.
Knowledge in financial matters | Non negotiable | Montek Singh Ahluwalia, he has no political affiliations, though one could argue that he was inclined to Congress. An economist who graduated from the University of Oxford and served as the Chairman of the Planning Commission. He undoubtedly knows everything in the book about financial matters.
Tolerant to diversity | Non negotiable | Nitin Gadkari from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gets my vote. Currently holding the portfolio for Roads, Transport, and Highways as well as Micro, Small and Medium industries. He’s well known for his tolerant mindset and speeches to match the requirement.
Age | Negotiable | What do we think of Sachin Pilot from Congress? The ideal candidate should be from the age group of 35 to 50 years. At 43, Sachin seems to fit the bill well. He’s also an ex-military man. A young mind and a defense career to boot. He could be a good bet.
Considering a nation as diverse as ours, with so many languages, cultures, cuisines, traditions and religions coexisting, mostly peacefully, we require a Prime Minister who checks as many of the boxes above, if not alI. I wish we could borrow bits and pieces from everywhere and make a political Frankenstein! Would this be a political horror or a political comedy? Who can say? What we can say with certainty, is that India needs a Prime Minister that’s not autocratic, is a cross between the corporate type and a true politician and who can also represent our country because the whole world is watching. Add a good sense of humor and the ability to take constructive criticism and there we have the ideal Prime Minister.
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