Picking Suresh Prabhu: PM Modi's no compromise with merit & petty politics

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Suresh Prabhu
For those who believe that politics is for the bad and the ugly and all negative, here is an exception in the name of Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu. This 61-year-old former head of Saraswat Co-Op Bank and a technocrat who once served as a minister in the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has been made the railway minister of Narendra Modi government after he left the Shiv Sena to join the BJP.

The move is certainly going to hurt the Sena's ego.

Prabhu, who served as the chairman of the national rivers interlinking project once, saw his relation with the Sena leadership deteriorating for his 'growing proximity' to the BJP. Late Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray had handpicked Prabhu for the first 13-day Vajpayee government in 1996.

He chose the man to bring changes in the party's image in the parliament but Prabhu's quick rise to prominence made senior party colleagues jealous. Bal Thackeray did not give this much importance first but after Prabhu got plum positions in the Vajpayee government, his distance with the Thackeray increased and he was accused of not looking after the party's interests. Prabhu was even mocked as 'Alice in Wonderland' by the Sena founder.

In 2002, Thackeray even sought Prabhu's resignation but Vajpayee continued to reward him, fuelling the Sena's wrath. After losing the 2009 election from Rajapur, Prabhu remained in the Sena just for the sake of it.

Modi's invitation to Prabhu was another blow for the Sena which wanted to expel the man from its party. But Uddhav Thackeray's party finished second best to the BJP yet again, as has been the case throughout the poll season in Maharashtra this year, after Prabhu took up the ministry as a member of the BJP.

Prabhu, who grabbed the respect of even his opponents in the past for his knowledge, has proved that politics can also be a fruitful affair if dealt with rightly. The man had never compromised with the Sena leadership to make it up and focussed more on study and also worked with Modi during his Gujarat days on the issue of power and was also appointed by the Modi government as the head of a high-level committee on power revamp [Advisory Group for Integrated Development of Power, Coal and Renewable Energy]. Modi, like Vajpayee, has decided to utilise the best resources but he has less compulsion than the former prime minister for he heads a majority government.

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