An uphill task

Strategising the percolation of central government welfare schemes and projects to masses in India

K S Tomar

As the new information and broadcasting union minister, four time member of Parliament and former union minister of state for finance and corporate affairs, Anurag Thakur has been assigned one of the most difficult tasks by prime minister, Narender Modi who expects young
incumbent to come up to his expectations regarding the evolution of mechanism to take central government’s seven year achievements in different fields to common masses in the country.

Prime minister has given a rare chance to young minister as I and B minister, after the failure of two predecessors to put forth government’s viewpoint about Afghan policy, a gigantic task of vaccination of 2nd most populated nation in the world, future action plan and policy about welfare of people in Jammu and Kashmir, countering opposition propaganda, etc. which will be aimed improving the image of government at national as well as international arena.

Anurag will have to establish new and an effective relationships with electronic and print media to publicize the projects and schemes to all sections of the society. Modi had laid down the new roadmap for his second term and won 2019 parliamentary elections on the basis of performance of his government besides other factors which included committed party cadres, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh machinery, vast resources etc. The outbreak of pandemic has affected the economic growth rate in India and shocks have been felt even in every developed
nation also in the world.

It is indeed a strange juxtaposition of rhetoric and expectations that as a new information and broadcasting minister, Anurag Thakur is having a visible as well as latent tag of blessings of Prime Minister and powerful Union Home Minister which immensely contributed in his steep rise to current position in the cabinet besides his personal qualities like aggression, a fighting spirit and long term strategy to achieve his goal. As a young upcoming leader, he was appointed All India Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha President and held the post from 2010 to 2016 which gave him an opportunity under the aegis of three national presidents including Nitin Gadkari, Rajanath Singh and Amit Shah.

Anurag's climb in politics can be attributed to his inbuilt quality to deliver though he wanted to be a cricketer. Thakur was the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from May 2015 to February 2017 and faced the ire of Supreme Court but he continued in his mission to move in national politics. Thakur also served the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) as its president for four straight terms since 2000 and deserve the credit for creating Asia’s best cricket stadium at Dharamshala. Thakur's cricketing journey began at the age of 14 as a player and he led the Punjab U-16 team that won the Vijay Merchant Trophy. He also represented the Himachal Pradesh cricket team as captain and played a match against Jammu and Kashmir in the 2000/2001 season.
On the contrary, Anurag’s rivals admit that he had been always focusing on national politics hence his father and two time chief minister, Professor Prem Kumar Dhumal might not have contributed much in his crusade to carve out space and now everyone will have to accept this reality. PM, Modi had in his subtle style given a message about his patronage to Anurag during Atal Tunnel on Oct 3,2020 inaugural ceremony when he described him with love as ‘Chokra” of Himachal who had elevated his stock to the next level in the eyes of people of Himachal. Analysts opine that Anurag is poised to carve his space in state politics though he may be under obligation to justify his current position which matters a lot to the Prime Minister.

Observers say after JP Nadda's elevation to national party president, the chances of emergence of Anurag in state politics cannot be ruled out though it will primarily depend upon the strategy and farsightedness of this young leader to widen his acceptance, popularity and contributions to people of Himachal.

The former BCCI chief also served the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) as its president for four straight terms since 2000 and is credited for creating the Asia level cricket stadium at Dharamshala. Thakur courted controversy during Delhi state polls which led to his criticism in the media but he was hardly reprimanded by top leaders which showed a tactical and silent approval.

On the other hand, he continued his belligerence in parliament as chief whip in Lok Sabha and appointment obviously done with the consent of Prime minister and home minister had surprised many. While adopting such aggressive attitude, he attacked opposition and also attained a distinction of becoming a strong critic of Gandhi family members.
K S Tomar is a Political Analyst

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