Rajnath’s next 365 days

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After completing one year in office, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is now bracing for more challenges in the next 365 days with a raging confrontation with AAP government in Delhi over its powers while Maoists and terrorists are looking for an opportunity to change their fortunes.

The immediate challenge before him would be to lead the war of wits against Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government, which has upped its ante against the central government over who would hold the reigns of the capital.

A deft politician, it is to be seen how Singh handles the issue, which has snowballed into a controversy at a time the central government is celebrating its first anniversary and AAP its 100 days in power. The AAP government may raise the pitch for full statehood and even take the Centre to court over a controversial notification clipping its wings though Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks about cooperative federalism.

Though the Minister may not have many feathers in his cap in the first year, he could heave a sigh of relief as Maoist violence was on the wane and there was no major terror attack during these days.

On the Maoist front, the Ministry noted that it was “worth mentioning” that naxal violence has “significantly declined” but Singh is repeatedly warning against lowering the guard in tackling the “biggest threat” to internal security.

However, Singh is yet to get a draft policy prepared by the Ministry on tackling the Maoist menace finalised and notified.

With Islamic State becoming a force, the security establishment also need to be on its toes though the terror outfit could manage to get large number of recruits from the country.

Another challenge before the Minister would be to contain fringe elements and ensure that minorities are not losing confidence.  With Bihar elections slated for later this year, official statistics showed that the state is witnessing a surge in communal incidents. Before Lok Sabha elections, Uttar Pradesh also witnessed such a surge in communal violence.

Singh will also have to fight for funds with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, his perceived archrival in BJP, to ensure that the Ministry gets enough funds to carry on projects under modernisation of police forces. The Ministry has already found support from a Parliamentary panel in this regard and expects that the Finance Ministry increase its funds.

*****

Naxal: Violence may be decreasing but Maoists have not lost their sting yet. Will have to have clear strategy

Terror: Improve security system, including coastal security

Communal: Will have to control fringe elements

Modernisation of Police: With funds transfered to states, Centre will have to work hard to ensure that states utilise funds properly.

Centre-State: Idea of cooperative federalism may be impressive but will have to work it out.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on May 26, 2015)

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