New Delhi: There is a story from the Mahabharata that most children might have heard. Adults require a special refresher course in the story, especially politicians, who seem to be all over the place except doing the jobs they have been elected for. Prime Minister Narendra Modi would rate an exception to this rule, but even he wouldn’t mind being reminded of the story.

The story has several versions. But the essence is this. Dhronacharya was teaching the Pandavas archery. He had affixed a wooden bird across the river. The target was the bird’s eye. One by one the boys were asked to describe the target and launch the arrow. Yudhisthira, the eldest, was first. He gave a full description of the tree, the branches, the flowers, the size of the target bird, etc. He missed the target.

Dhronacharya put Yudhisthira’s question to the other Pandavas. They were similarly elaborate in their answers except Arjuna. The others failed in their target as well. Arjuna said he could only see the eye of the bird and nothing else. His arrow went home and the bird dropped into the river.

This is a simple morality tale. The simple moral of the story is, “Don’t lose sight of the target.” Lessons in management will probably tell you the same thing. Prime Minister Modi needs to drill the idea of target practise into his ministers. Arun Jaitley has got into a needless slanging match with Arvind Kejriwal when he needs to put his entire mind to the Union budget. Smriti Irani, a gem, is pointlessly fighting with some journalist on Twitter. They have been selected to govern, not engage in fruitless public battles.

Prime Minister Modi’s target can only be growth and development. It is what he was elected for in 2014. That is Arjuna’s bird’s eye for him. Not for a minute should he be deflected from his goal. He needs to read the riot act to his ministers who are squandering his mandate.

The Opposition in India will disrupt the processes of governance. It does not know better. When it does, the country will progress by leaps and bounds. Because the Opposition is constructed in a negative framework, the government has to work harder to get simple things done. Who said life is easy?

For example, the GST and other bills stuck in the Rajya Sabha because of Congress party obstructionism are key drivers of growth and development. The government must focus all its positive energies on getting them passed with the Congress on board because it is the principal Opposition party and started the earliest reforms of 1991-96. No purpose is served going out of the way to rile the party. After all, Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister, to name just one member of the Congress party among several more, will always remain an important ally of reforms, because he understands its imperative, and his name is joined with the first generation reforms of the early 1990s.

Doubtless there will come impairments to the government-Opposition consensus on reforms, growth and development driven by outside forces. This is Nature. Climate changes. Seasons come and go. Flowers bloom and die. The government should take care that the impairments do not go out of hand and kill the prospects of growth and development. When they concern the rule of law, a delicate balance must be struck. This is mature administration.

Take the National Herald case. It goes on trial tomorrow. What is the role of the government? Unless it sees that public interest is strongly served by intervening in the case, it has no role. This writer has a view but that is of no consequence. The government says the case has come for trial on the basis of a private complaint. It that is indeed its position, it should step aside on neutral ground. It should organize a proper police bundobust on trial day because it is charged with Delhi’s law and order and leave the rest to the wisdom of the Union Home Minister.

It is very important for the Modi government to treat the National Herald trial normally. It involves the dignity of the judiciary, several leaders of a national party, and of course the dignity of the Central government. Utmost decency and decorum should be maintained during the proceedings of the trial, outside the trial venue, and in comments pertaining to the trial. Everything in this country becomes a tamasha leading to hot words, clashes, violence and destruction of public property. Tomorrow’s trial should set a precedent for peace and decency. Everybody has a responsibility to ensure this, including the Congress party, but the Central government has a special role to obtain civilized conduct all around.

But through all this, Prime Minister Modi cannot remove his mind from Arjuna’s bird’s eye. He has been elected to secure the country’s growth and development. These should become his obsessions. Everyone and everything in government must be solely directed towards those ends. Those ends will take care of everything else.