THE FIRST 100 DAYS
Mohammed Ataur Rahman
UPA-2 logged its 100th day in office on August 29. Manmohan Singh and 19 ministers had taken oath of office on May 22. A hundred days do not mean much in a five-year term, but they can exemplify the saying “morning shows the day.”
By and large the public perception was that the government term in office was well-begun. Except rising prices, which have a terrible effect on aam aadmi, the government’s performance was seen to be good enough.
In a survey limited to a small sample in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, 47 percent of respondents said the UPA performance was good, while 10 percent said it was excellent. For 25 percent it was bad and for 18 percent utter failure. The survey was conducted by Hindustan Times- Cfore.
Compared to the home ministry under Shivraj Patil, the present home ministry under P. Chidambram got a better rating. On internal security, 50 percent of respondents rated it as good, eight percent as excellent, 31 percent as bad and 11 percent as utter failure.
In both, the “excellent” and “good” performance ratings well exceeded the “bad” and “utter failure” ratings giving the government some reason to smile as assembly elections in Maharashtra, Harayana and Arunachal Pradesh drew close.
Among the cabinet ministers, Railways’ Mamata Banerjee was at the top with 56 percent good and 28 percent excellent, while external affairs minister SM Krishna trailed at 30 percent good and 10 percent excellent rating (that is, 60 percent negative rating). Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, with 40 percent good and seven percent excellent did not fare much better (53 percent bad rating). The worst show came from Sharad Pawar, who got 27 percent good and three percent excellent (with an overwhelming 70 percent negative rating). Pawar should now concentrate on either his cricket or his agriculture ministry. They don’t seem to mix well.
All said and done, these are not the views of the aam admi, who decides the future of our political parties. Food shortage and high prices are not a good omen for any government, including the UPA’s. g