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Rajnath lags on 100-day scorecard

New Delhi, Aug. 28: Rajnath Singh, battling “rumours” of financial misconduct by his son, seems to have precious little to show as home minister when the Narendra Modi government presents its 100-day scorecard next week.

Recurring software problems in a police networking plan and key organisations going headless for months are being counted among Rajnath’s shortcomings, undermining the ruling BJP’s plank of internal security.

But he appears to have tripped on other areas, too. These include spheres Modi has focused on, such as Centre-state relations. Rajnath, for instance, could not have new governors appointed in place of all UPA nominees by August 15, a deadline set within the government.

His achievements, on the other hand, are seen more as a continuation of past policies or incremental changes in existing programmes.

But even on this, he has hit some roadblocks. One Achilles heel is the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS), a UPA-floated 2009 plan to link 14,000 police stations across the country.

Its pivot, the CCTNS software, is throwing up problems with error margins of 50 per cent, sources said. “There are also problems with manpower as we are not getting trained hands,” said a source.

If this were to be passed off as a technical issue, other problems remain. In early June, days after taking over, the Modi government decided to end the contract of Raghu Raman, a security expert who was brought from outside to head the National Intelligence Grid (NatGrid). Months later, a search committee is yet to be set up. The grid, the brainchild of former home minister P. Chidambaram, seeks to strengthen counter-terrorism plans through a centralised data bank.

When Modi and the BJP rode to power with a thumping majority, expectations were high on internal security, more so as Rajnath had often stressed the theme when he was party president.

But the hopes were shaken within weeks of his taking charge. First, he was not allowed to choose his own private secretary. Then, at his first news conference, Rajnath, sitting under an imposing portrait of India’s first home minister Vallabhbhai Patel, spoke about onion and potato hoarders in Delhi instead of security matters.

The latest “rumours” about his son have only added to his problems, culminating in the outburst yesterday when he said he would quit if the allegations were proved.

He has some chance, though, to make up. He is scheduled to visit Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow to “monitor” BSF deployments on the border at a time of repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan. Next week, he is slated to outline measures to prevent illegal migration and what sources described as a “hard-nosed” anti-Maoist policy.