Neerja Chowdhury, a seasoned journalist, offers a captivating narrative in her newly published work, “How Prime Ministers Decide.” The book delves into the intricacies of Indian politics, recounting key moments and decisions that have played a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s trajectory. Drawing from a wealth of interviews conducted over four decades with prime ministers, political stalwarts, bureaucrats, policymakers, and behind-the-scenes influencers, Chowdhury provides unprecedented insights into the art of decision-making at the highest echelons of power.
At the heart of the book lies a comprehensive analysis of six historic decisions that have left an indelible mark on India’s political landscape. These critical junctures serve as windows into the operating styles and strategies of the country’s prime ministers. From Indira Gandhi’s calculated maneuvering to regain power in the aftermath of the post-Emergency defeat, to Rajiv Gandhi’s fateful misjudgment regarding the Shah Bano case, each chapter unveils the complex interplay of factors that guided these leaders.
V. P. Singh’s tactical implementation of the Mandal Commission Report, a move that reshaped contemporary politics, finds its place alongside P. V. Narasimha Rao’s momentous yet indecisive handling of the Babri Masjid demolition. The transformation of Atal Bihari Vajpayee from a steadfast pacifist into a proponent of nuclear tests, and the resolute diplomacy of Manmohan Singh in sealing a groundbreaking nuclear deal with the United States, further enrich the book’s exploration of leadership dynamics.
Through meticulous research and an acute understanding of the political landscape, “How Prime Ministers Decide” offers readers a unique vantage point into the inner workings of India’s highest offices. As Chowdhury’s engaging prose navigates through the corridors of power, readers are presented with a fresh perspective on the art and science of governance. This book stands as a testament to Neerja Chowdhury’s extensive experience and insight, promising to reshape our understanding of how prime ministers steer the course of the nation.