Was it a sound decision to change the horses midstream? Of course, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has every right to refurbish his Council of Ministers with fresh blood and energy as he chooses, around the middle of his second stint as India’s governmental head. But since the country is still grappling with the Coronavirus pandemic, and the third wave is imminent upon us around the middle of August, as cautioned, advised and predicted by the experts, it might have been a better idea to carry on with the “good doctor” Harsh Vardhan who, for better or even for worse, has been handling the nation’s unprecedented health crisis as supremely as any man could. Of course, there were mistakes, but these were made at every level; from individual or collective level. Even the Cabinet or the national authority set up to assess, gauge and tackle the pandemic were put to test. And now so many people have been vaccinated with either single or both doses. So whether call it a success or failure, it is a collective burden. Not an albatross to be hanged across the neck of only Dr Harsh Vardhan.
One thing should be quite clear, and relatively easy to understand without going into the caste or regional equations that dictate the modern-day politics of our nation and, subsequently, the refreshment of the Union Cabinet. One does understand the pressure of the hour on the Prime Minister as important States like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab head for Assembly elections early next year. But let his governance troubles be as these are, sincere and hardworking people shouldn’t be sacrificed at the altar of placating or appeasing either the vocal Opposition or other baiters. The reason, again, is simple: Before March 2020, nobody had heard the word “Coronavirus” or isolation or vaccination and so on, but since then Harsh Vardhan was on the ball, learning as all of us did, how to deal with the pernicious virus. Actually, not only learning, but leading from the front. He was at the forefront of thinking, planning and execution of the anti-COVID strategy. So it feels a tad sad to learn that he has been shown the bench, despite being on the curve tackling the anti-COVID operations across India. There has been criticism, yes, but there has been no precedence of such large-scale magnitude of a health crisis to refer back to, and he was doing good. Anyway, here’s wishing good luck to Mansukh Mandaviya!