I missed this interesting comment by Prof Jagdish Bhagwati in ET.
He compares current Indian political system to that in former Soviet Union. In both head of government is just a figurehead and head of party rules:
Renowned economist and globalisation buff Jagdish N Bhagwati says Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s hands are tied because India’s political system is similar to that of the former Soviet Union, where the party was supreme and the chief of government just a figurehead.
“My wife (Padma Desai), who is a Russian expert, gives me good insights. In Russia (in the time of communist party rule), the party was all-important. The president was a figurehead. We have never had that (in India). Now thanks to (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi, the party is entirely important and the prime minister is at the receiving end,” says the Mumbai-born Indian-American economist.
The professor of economics and law at Columbia University adds that the “power shifting completely to the party” has taken a huge toll on reforms.
“His (Singh’s) ability to deliver reforms is handicapped by the fact that the people in favour of track-II reforms (social spending, etc) around Ms Gandhi are not appreciative of the fact that track-I reforms (growth-oriented initiatives) are absolutely necessary, that we need to intensify and broaden them to continue making a direct impact on poverty and generating revenues (for welfare schemes),” says Bhagwati.
This is a very interesting comparison. Till USSR existed, India tried hard to emulate the Soviet power. We have managed in some domain (as per Prof Bhagwati) after the dismantle of the Union.
Here is a counterclaim by AK Bhattacharya of BS who says Singh understands politics much better now. So whatever is happening now it is because PM has evolved from a technocrat minister to a politician in the Congress party mould..