Claiming that Maharashtra lacked good political leadership for almost two decades, a leaked US cable has said that years of "underperformance" has lowered expectations to a level that even marginal infrastructural development would be seen as a major victory.
The cable, which was written on the occasion of first anniversary of 26/11, said, "By all accounts, Maharashtra has lacked good political leadership for almost two decades. The last ten years of Congress/NCP rule has been marked by an inability to implement major development or infrastructure programmes."
"The political coalition is openly fractious, ministers routinely criticise each other in public, and state leaders devote much of their time to balancing these various interests, leaving little time for serious pursuits," it said.
"In this regard, Maharashtra's politicians are not different from those in many other states - too many family dynasties, too much corruption, too many builders and land developers seeking family fortunes.
The US Government has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of these cables.
"However, the accumulation of ten years of underperformance, indifference, and incompetence has lowered the expectations of civil society so much that even the most marginal of improvements would be seen as a major victory," it said.
For most of the time since 26/11, Maharashtra's politicians engaged in fraternal infighting, electioneering, and horse-trading over the spoils of office, it said.
One year after the tragic terrorist attacks of November 26, 2008, Maharashtra's leaders have introduced modest improvements in Mumbai's security, it said.
Maharashtra's administration and security officials appear sincere in their desire to make Mumbai safer and to protect its citizens from further attacks.
"That said, the state faces serious challenges in overcoming decades of accumulated capacity and leadership deficits - as well as bureaucratic hurdles -- in order to make Mumbai safer. Despite a state election where security might have been an electoral issue, voters cast their ballots along identity lines, returning the ineffectual incumbent coalition to power," the cable said.
A new, energetic police leadership has introduced some modernisation efforts, but serious questions remain about the professional competence of the force and the ability of its political leadership to implement serious reforms, it said.