Sharad Pawar has been elected President of the International Cricket Committee (ICC).It is a great office and the post carries great honor as well as heavy responsibilities.

As such, Pawar has met the Prime Minister and asked the PM to reduce his burdens the Cabinet Minister in charge of crucial portfolios. Agriculture, Food and Consumers Affairs are all each very critical, given the current economic and social and electoral contexts.

Unfortunately and even sad as it is, we at this magazine knows Pawar rather for a long time and hold him in high esteem and yet public duty calls for an objective analysis and public interest is paramount. So, we have to see his past performance, his office as the agriculture minister has been a dismal failure. So many issues come to the forefront; the most galling is the unprecedented and unstoppable series of farmer’s distress and farmers suicides.

In a developing and a great economy like that of India the scenario of agriculture, taken in the total picture of economics, rural development and the quality of the farmers and the farming communities, the role and the belief systems of a senior leader like Pawar doesn’t give us, the very citizens and the farming community as a whole any sense of inspiration or hope.

Rather there is a distinct feeling of helplessness and there is on the contrary there is a jarring sense and even some discomfiting feeling of not knowing how to describe and evaluate of the contribution of Pawar to the overall wellbeing of the farmers as the quality of our polity.
The role of the ally, the NCP, in the UPA alliance is also needs some indepth discussion.

Pawar and his associates in the NCP, the civil aviation ministry as well as the agriculture portfolio and the latest, the coming of the IPL scandal and the involvement of the NCP leading lights make the Indian polity poorer, both in the public perception as well as the public taste for scandal or whatever you might choose to call it.

So, we are rather sorry   to write this story and yet public duty calls us not to brush aside the current dilemma for the country and the Prime Minister in particular with Pawar’s demand.

Poor Prime Minister, what he can do in such a situation?
We are sure this thought would have been on the minds of many, in particular the coalition builders whoever they are!

The Congress sources, the TV news bulletins put out, saying Pawar’s request to get his burden reduced is for the Prime Minister to decide, the party, and the Congress as such has no role.

This is on the face of it is patent nonsense.

Sonia Gandhi is also presented with an unenviable job that of deciding on what to do about Pawar’s request.

Surely, it is incumbent upon Mr.Pawar to play his own very considered role.

Pawar must himself come forward and give the Prime Minister and the Congress President some relief.

One way is for Pawar to offer to take up some light portfolio, as Pawar is a heavyweight in the Indian politics, more so, in the Maharashtrian politics. Maharashtra is as critical for the Indian political scene as the big industrial base of the state, the financial clout of the city of Mumbai, the MPCC as the money machine for the national party are all well-known.

The corporate lobby of the state is also very critical, the Congress party, let us be a bit frank, is also a captive of the corporate lobby and Pawar’s hold on the MPCC, though he happens to lead a rival outfit, the NCP is a critical component of the state Congress as well as the national party unit.

So, the dilemma for both the Congress President as well as for the Prime Minister is obvious.

So, we can only request Mr.Pawar to come forward himself and offer some alternative suggestions so that both the PM and the Congress President can act upon jointly.

The point here is not to embarrass anyone in this power play, yet, it is a power play for the players concerned. It is better the PM or the Congress President or for some intermediaries to come in and Cali for a sounding board, who knows the Pawar family too can play a role. After all Ms.Sule, the daughter is an MP and herself a public personality and a public face.

What needs at this hour is a bit of delicacy on the part of everybody.
Let us hope the outcome will be in the larger public interest. The country’s agri sector deserves a new look, a fresh approach and a  radical recast of the various stakeholders, farmers must be made the centre piece and farmers voices and the ground level realities must go to shape the new agriculture development strategy.

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