6 thoughts on “Rating South Asia’s leaders”

  1. It looks like a toss up between the Sri Lankan and Indian leads. Interesting.

    Personally I would hesitate to put the two (Leadership and democratic credentials) on X and Y axes, because traditionally more democratic leaders have tended to be weaker leaders. I suppose what you have done is to define your criteria better by awarding points on respect for constitutional democratic guarantees, instead of democracy within the ruling elite (the cabinet for instance).

    A neat collation on the whole – especially the inclusion of the terror leads in the rating of the opposition leads!

  2. I think Manmohan Singh is still largely perceived as weak because of the way he came into power. I’m tempted to complain that it is mainly a ‘perception’ that has nothing to do with how he’s handling the job of governing the country.

    But in politics, perceptions are realities. It will continue until there is a crisis where his abilities are tested.

  3. Kiran,

    Democratic leaders do not need to be weak leaders; if India’s democratic leaders have been weak it is because of their personal shortcomings and the drift in India’s political system. Fundamentally, I’d contend that leadership and democratic credentials are ‘orthogonal’ or linearly independent (pardon the jargon). Secondly, in both these ratings, I’ve separated the democratic nature of the countries from the democratic natures of its leaders.

    Amardeep,

    Yes, Manmohan Singh will remain weak because he is not a Lok Sabha member, and hence lacks his own political base. But once in power, he has shown very little gumption to do right; he is unable to control the wackos in his cabinet — from Shibu Soren to Laloo to Nutwar. And he is unwilling to face down the back-seat-tch tch’ers of the loony Left. His weakness is not just perception. It is reality. [See this piece from News Insight]

  4. “But once in power, he has shown very little gumption to do right; he is unable to control the wackos in his cabinet — from Shibu Soren to Laloo to Nutwar. And he is unwilling to face down the back-seat-tch tch’ers of the loony Left. His weakness is not just perception. It is reality.”

    Exactly. Which is why it would be appropriate to refer to him as Manmohan Khatami.

    But I’m curious as to why you consider Advani to be undemocratic. Does it have to do with the Ayodhya issue?

  5. Eric,

    Once out of power, the BJP has not discharged its responsibility of playing the role of a constructive opposition. Its tactics — like boycotting parliament — and its inability to take on the government at a policy level has resulted in it scoring low for both leadership, and democratic nature.

  6. I see your point. Though I don’t think it makes Advani “undemocratic” in the same way that, say, Musharraf and Gyanendra are. I think the BJP is still shell-shocked from its defeat, which just about no one saw coming, and they’re deeply unsure of what kind of agenda they should adopt in its aftermath. Hopefully they’ll have the courage to renew the push for economic reform that they were making during the latter years of NDA rule, but that might be expecting too much out of them.

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