AS WITH comedy, timing matters when delivering a political punchline. On October 28th India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, at last reshuffled his cabinet. It was long overdue, made necessary by the departure in September of a coalition ally, and more generally by the growing sense, over several months, of a government adrift: dominated by aged men, beset by scandal and short of fresh ideas. Mr Singh afterwards said he hoped it be his last rejig before general elections due, at the latest, in mid-2014.
The most high-profile, and broadly welcome, change is the arrival of a new foreign minister, Salman Khurshid. He is only the third Muslim in the post in India’s history (though his own father, Khurshed Alam Khan, once served as a junior foreign minister, a reminder of the heavy role played by dynasty in Indian, especially Congress, politics). His elevation from his old job as law minister is mildly surprising, coming in the wake of allegations of corruption at an NGO for the disabled which is run by his wife. Evidently Congress’s leaders reckon the supposed scandal has already run its course.
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