With the UPA firmly in a position to form a new government, I would hope they decisively push forward an agenda for a radical change in the way this nation is governed.
The choice of Cabinet ministers will be key to this. My dream cabinet would be as follows:
- External Affairs - Mr. Shashi Tharoor - well recognised in circles of diplomacy the world over. Articulate and suave face of India. Ex-UN insider - could push for India's bid for permanent membership of the Security Council
- Defence Ministry - General V.P. Malik - yes, he can be made the minister despite not being a politician. Afterall, when in 1991, Dr. Manmohan Singh was made the Finance Minister, he was nowhere close to politics and wasn't even a Congress Party member. General Malik is fine military strategist, led the Indian Army to success despite odds in the Kargil war. He knows what conflict is - General Malik is the only Army chief with artificial limbs after getting injured in combat, during the Tangail Airdrop, in the 1971 war. A fine soldier like him is required to overhaul and modernise our forces
- Finance Ministry - Montek Singh Ahluwalia - he has the required experience and is clued in. Knows what is required today and has a rapport with the Prime Minister
- Home Ministry - P. Chidambaram - he should stay on for the sake of continuity, in the course adopted post 26/11. The agenda now is building our second line of defence and internal security. A crackdown on the Naxalites should top his agenda.
- Education and Infrastructure - Pranab Mukherjee - a senior statesman would be required to push for education reforms. Also having handled the finance portfolio, he would appreciate the importance of infrastructure (a new ministry I propose) in building our economy.
- Communications and Technology - Rahul Gandhi / Jyotiraditya Scindia / Sachin Pilot or someone else from the young brigade - we need to build an e-nation and only the young can do it.
The Congress lost the opportunity the decisive mandate of 1985 elections gave them. I hope this time they make it possible to move full steam ahead. I feel this dream cabinet can make it happen.