Brookings says Jayalalitha is different
"By all accounts, the chief minister possesses a sharp mind, and prides herself on asking hard questions, making quick (though not impulsive) decisions, and being a prudent administrator.
While not a technocrat, she does take the merits of arguments seriously both the policy merits, and the political merits," William J Antholis, managing director, The Brookings Institution, said in an article.
It is quite unusual for Brookings, which is known for conducting research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and global economy and development, to come out with an article on a regional Indian leader. "If a movie were to be made about today`s politics in Tamil Nadu, it might be called: `Star Wars III: Jayalalitha Strikes Back`," says the article posted on the Brookings website.
"If Jayalalitha`s grandstanding were all theatrics, it might be bad for Tamil Nadu. But, in fact, she seems committed to making a difference," it said.
The article mentioned that she consistently targetted the huge deficits run by Karunanidhi, and had began to tackle subsidies that were draining public coffers.
"She surprised many in 2011 by actually raising bus and milk prices. She has committed to increases in education spending, including providing laptops for all students in 10th-12th grade," he wrote.
Antholis, who visited Tamil Nadu for the first time in 2001, said that Jayalalitha`s next step appears to be tackling Tamil Nadu`s huge infrastructure deficits that have slowed its otherwise impressive decade of growth. "If the legacy of `Jayalalitha III` really is going to be that of good governance, she will have to do something few Indian political leaders have done," he said.
He added that the South Indian state chief minister will have to make tough policy choices while investing in the capacity of her own party members and in the state bureaucracy.