More rabbits in Jaswant’s hat?

Sucheta Dalal writes that while Jaswant Singh’s recently opened goodie-bag has further contributed to the ‘feel good’ sentiment, he has a few more rabbits in his hat.

But finance ministry officials tantalisingly say that this is not the end of good news emanating from North Block —it is just beginning. They claim that the concessions announced so far fall in the category of ‘‘executive decisions’’, which do not need parliamentary approval. Santa Clause Singh, they suggest, will be going to Parliament seeking even more concessions for the electorate and probably dare the opposition to turn down the goodies for the masses on the eve of a general election.[The Indian Express]

Another report point out that the BJP is plugging economic reforms as its main plank in this election, and stating the ambition to make India ‘an economic superpower’. That is still a pipe dream, but the fact that a major party (that too the BJP) is fighting the general election on a progressive economic reform agenda is in itself a great achievement. In spite of Manmohan Singh’s and P Chidambaram’s early mover advantage, it is suddenly the BJP which is the party of reform!

The Congress party needs to reinvent itself. Its plight is not unlike that of the British Conservatives who are still grappling with a New Labour who stole a page from Margaret Thatcher’s own book. Both parties have only themselves to blame – they did not stake a strong claim to their own legacy.