Do as I say, not as I do

Dismissing the Congress president’s accusation that the NDA government was showing “obstinate arrogance” in Parliament and that it was a government by “one person”, Modi said, “Perhaps, she is referring to the fact that earlier extra-constitutional authorities were the ones really wielding power.”

He went on to say that power was now “wielded only by constitutional means”. If the charge is that “we are working through constitutional channels and not listening to any extra constitutional authorities, then I plead guilty to that charge”, he said.

Asked about the criticism that all powers were concentrated in the PMO, Modi responded, “Your question is loaded. It would have been better if this question had been asked when an unconstitutional authority was sitting above the constitutional authority and exercising power over the PMO.”

He emphasised that “the Prime Minister and the PMO are very much part of the constitutional scheme, not outside it”.

Thus Prime Minister Narendra Modi, less than a year ago. I found myself agreeing with the PM — no, no, I mean that, honest; I don’t automatically disagree with everything he, or anyone else for that matter, says and does.

Actually, even during its lifetime, much of the informed analysis about the paralysis affecting UPA II held that the then prime minister was leg-shackled by Sonia Gandhi and the praetorian guard she had surrounded herself with.

So what to make of this event, which happened less than four months after the PM made that speech? Or this more recent event?

Apprising members of the RSS and ABVP on Monday about the government’s stand on the JNU sedition controversy and Dalit PhD scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide in Hyderabad Central University, Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani is learnt to have reiterated the defence she put up in Parliament on February 24.

She made the briefing during a workshop hosted by the Society Against Conflict and Hate, an NGO close to the RSS. BJP General Secretary (Organisation) Ramlal was present at the event.

Do ministers spend working hours briefing cultural organisations about the issues of the day? (And what a godawful waste of time if you are just going to repeat what you said in Parliament — just send a YouTube link, no?)

PS: Off blog for most of the day. See you guys late evening.

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