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Indian Home Minister Wants Sonia To Be Super Pm, Review Govt Work Every 6 Mths


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NEW DELHI: Home minister P Chidambaram on Monday argued that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi should review the performance of the government every six months.

Chidambaram, while speaking on the economic resolution at Congress's 83rd plenary session, also said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should scrutinize the work in every ministry three times a year to see the pace of implementation of allocated work.

His suggestion that the Congress chief also evaluate performance of Singh's ministers may sound radical, considering that Sonia has so far assiduously refrained from interfering with government's functioning since she considers that to be the PM's exclusive jurisdiction.

Even though her disappointment with the functioning of several ministries is public knowledge, the Congress chief has relied on the meeting of the core committee that comprises the PM and senior ministers like finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, defence minister A K Antony and Chidambaram himself to convey her suggestions based on the feedback that she gets.

The restraint is attributed to her anxiety not to appear as meddling in government's work or do back seat driving. She has also tried to dispel the perception that the National Advisory Council under her leadership can emerge as the Planning Commission for social sector by readily heeding government's viewpoint even on issues dear to her heart, like food security.

Chidambaram's suggestion may appear to be out of sync with the spirit of the division of labour which had made the dyarchy — with Sonia looking after the organisation while leaving the PM as in charge of government — work without giving rise to turf battles.

Giving UPA-2 a higher rating over the previous NDA rule, the home minister said these two measures would surely give the government's functioning a new boost and instil urgency in ththe ministers.

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