You would think a government that takes over at a critical time would plunge into work immediately.

From what we see, it’s not to be. In the party’s list of priorities, some things — such as writing essays in Sanskrit and deciding after over six decades of Independence which among a million books ought to be the national ‘holy book’ — appear more critical than feeding malnourished babies or at least letting them live if they happen to be female.

Despite all the Adani jokes and innuendoes that have always clouded Narendra Modi, the man does seem to intend to do the nation well. To his credit, he has said all the right things and, more importantly, not said anything that hurts or embarrasses.

But between Modi and his mission comes a bunch of ministers, MPs and party leaders who appear unaware of the concept of talking sensibly. From Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who said a few weeks after coming to power that “small incidents” such as rape are ruining the nation’s tourism potential, to Minister of State Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, who informed the country’s non-Hindus that they’re actually the progeny of Lord Rama, the BJP folks could well use a crash course in diplomacy. If that is too tall an order, the least they can do is keep quiet.

Why Modi has failed to rein them in is what is surprising. Not a man known for mildness of manner with colleagues and subordinates, you would think a frown from him would effectively clam up his party men. Either the frown has not surfaced, or is going unnoticed. Modi may recall that this time around, the masses specifically voted for him, not his party. He, therefore, bears a personal responsibility to his electors. The Congress repeatedly accuses the BJP of plagiarising several of the UPA’s policies and schemes. BJP leaders could certainly borrow one ideal from the UPA — that Manmohanesque silence.

Indira Balaji, Senior Assistant Editor