What has this nation done to deserve such a lame duck of a Prime Minister ?

published on March 13, 2011
Dr (Mrs) Hilda Raja

About two years ago a former student of mine sent me the Curriculum vitae of Dr Manmohan Singh and remarked – ‘ no PM of the world has such a CV we should be proud.it ’. I replied to her, ‘ It is not the CV that makes a man it is the intrinsic values, the integrity and honesty , the sensitivity to the downtrodden, the courage and firmness which enables one to uphold the oath which a PM takes when he assumes off ice that matters. I also reminded her that great leaders like Kamaraj Nadar, Nanda, Lal Badhur Shastri had no CV to boast of. But they loved the people and the country and stood for certain principles.

When I read the media reports on Manmohan Singh’s CV  I thought the same and midway through his tenure as PM,  I found myself anchoring on these values more than his scholarship. Today I am more convinced that Manmohan Singh lacked the administrative skills,the tenacity and the erudition to be at the helm of the country’s governance. He lacked the courage to act, he let down the nation when it looked up to him, he failed to safeguard the interests of the nation, and he simply pretended that the looters can continue looting the country. Would one call this honesty? But above all he failed to uphold his oath. Thus he failed miserably as a Prime Minister.

What happens when a Principal makes ‘an error of judgment’ and thereby fails a student? What happens when a clerk makes an error of judgment and throws the promotion paper of a junior clerical staff in the waste paper basket? What happens when the Chief of Armed forces makes an error of judgment? What happens when the pilot of a jet makes an error of judgment? What happens to those holding the remote control of the nuclear power clicks because of an error of judgment?

In all the above cases they take full responsibility and they cannot escape being accountable and all that what follows with such accountability

What happens when the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh makes an error of judgment and accepts full responsibility for it? Is there not natural justice that he be made accountable for that error of judgment? By simply making statements in Parliament does it wash away his guilt? Can he be let off the hook without paying for it? Can his sins be washed off by his statements, “I am not that big culprit as is being made out” a pitiful plea and that from the PM of this nation. If he is not ‘that big a culprit’ then is he a medium size culprit?

One must remember that this is not the first time that the Prime Minister has tried to escape by making statements in the Parliament without being punished for it. Every person who errs needs to be punished – that’s justice. All the more if he is supposed to be at the helm of affairs. In Quottrocchi’s case he pleaded that ‘he was out of the loop’. Was it not his responsibility to be very much in the loop? In 2G Spectrum he pretended that everything was fine till the Opposition shouted hoarse. Still he pretended to be deaf and like a robot moved on. Was it not his responsibility not to allocate the IT and communication portfolio to Dayanidhi Maran when his family is in the business of communication and media? Then when Maran was dropped because of family discords then A.Raja was given the portfolio. The media had brought to the notice of its readers the scam that was erupting in the department but Manmohan Singh continued as though everything was fine. He was forced to drop A.Raja and now calls it compulsions of coalition. Does it mean that compulsions of coalition calls for closing one’s eyes-not acting and allowing the nation to be looted?

The Common Wealth Games had no compulsions of coalition and yet the Prime minister went about giving the impression that everything was fine. Meanwhile the loot was on. Is the PM insulated from governance or does he just allow his subordinates to call the shots.

Coming to the appointment of PJ.Thomas as the CVC one simply cannot understand the compulsions of the PM and the Home Minister to select him when the leader of the Opposition had put in a dissenting note. Were there not two others from whom one could have been selected? This issue was raised in public forums-in Parliament and the Opposition made a hue and cry ,  still the PM was unmoved. It is only when the Supreme Court raised questions and asked for clarification then the PM could not run for cover. So he coolly calls it ‘error of judgment’. Can a PM of the country afford to make an error of judgment? Can the nation rather afford to have a PM who yields to coalition pressures and when there is no coalition pressure then it is error of judgment?

In every public enterprise there is a scam and Mrs Sonia Gandhi stated that the whole world knows that the PM is an honest man. How is honesty proved-by allowing scams-by allowing the country to be looted?

The problem is much deeper. There is a dyarchy system in the country. There is no Parliamentary democracy but a mirage of it. Power is with Sonia Gandhi with no accountability, authority with accountability is with Manmohan Singh but  with no power. Manmohan Singh is very grateful to Mrs Sonia Gandhi for selecting him as the PM. He entered Parliament through the backdoor – this honest man. He is subservient to Mrs Sonia Gandhi for her renunciation and for handpicking him to the gaddi. She was clever and he was naïve to say the least. His image would camouflage her motives-and her strategies.

Look how he and his authority have been undermined by a National Advisory council. It is Sonia Gandhi’s Parliament. Her hand picked men/women to lobby for her pet schemes. Thereby undermining Parliament and pressurizing the PM to accept its recommendations. Then why is there a Parliament?

The Prime Minister is more attuned to the corporate world. This has been his perception when he was Secretary of the SAARC and later in the World Bank.Now there seem to be a bigger scam looming that of Cairn-Vedanta. Will the PM wake up in time. It is no consolation for the Finance minister to assure the nation that black money stashed abroad in tax havens will be brought back. But laws have to be followed. What laws is he talking of? For scoundrels who have looted the nation-for traitors who have dealings with arms dealers-for men who followed no law what is the law Pranab Mukerjee wants to follow? And the Prime Minister is silent. Is it going to be the same game the GOI played by allowing Quottrrochi to walk away with the loot?

Why did the Prime Minister and his party refuse to yield to the demand of a JPC there by allowed a hole winter session to be lost  ? After all the demand of the Opposition was not unconstitutional and the demand of a JPC was not setting a precedent. Yielding to the Opposition is not a sign of weakness but a sign of vibrant democracy. The same in the appointment of the CVC. There were three names for the selection committee what was the compulsion and who compelled the PM and the Home minister Chidambaram to select PJ Thomas over ruling the leader of the Opposition Ms Sushma Swaraj? They could have at least gone in for any one of the other two names? Why this stiff unyielding posturing of the PM? Were the compulsions of the coalition pressure there? Or was it because the Kerala elections were round the corner and PJ Thomas belonged to a minority community? This is no statesmanship. It looks that Manmohan Singh easily falls a victim to pressures from within and without and that is no consolation for the nation to have such a person at the helm of affairs with his ‘error of judgment’.

The Prime Minister is not made of the stuff of a politician . He has been lampooned for allowing the likes of A.Raja – he had under his nose the Commonwealth Games scam but nothing seems to move him.He shows an extra ordinary display of insulation to the shouts and screams-to the scum that is spreading all round him. He has allowed corruption of unimaginable magnitude to besmirch this country’s fair name. He seems to be immune to the fact that India is today known for its corruption. So how does one react to a man who does not act? It is whispered that Mrs Sonia Gandhi calls the shots and so Manmohan Singh like a loyal sepoy wants to protect her. It sounds plausible because he is indebted to her for making him the Prime Minister and he wants to be loyal. Come what may, his loyalty then is to Mrs Sonia Gandhi and her family rather than to the country. There seems to be no other way than to vote him and his party out.

We must look for patriotism – not verbal bouts in action. We do not need scholars but simple men/women who can be entrusted with the national interests and who will not be an advocate of the corporate world but will stand by the down trodden. Manmohanomics has failed and failed miserably with the line of defense that the greater the growth the higher the inflation. The richer the people are the greater the shortage of food because they buy more and eat more- This theory has been rejected by the World Bank document. High growth does not mean high inflation if that growth is spread. It is the monopoly corporate world that shows growth and this is deceptive when it comes to the welfare of the billion. The top 2 percent accumulates everything and the trickle down theory will only give us doles and a National Rural Guarantee Employment Program which is a sedative to make the people zombies. So the talk of PM being a great economist is shattered.

Is this nation not qualified to have a PM who can speak? One who can bravely articulate his vision and translate it into action? Is it too much for this nation to expect a PM to arrest the loot and to throw the looters behind the bars? Is it too much to want a PM who would not just carry his honesty on his sleeves but allow dishonest persons to thrive? Is it too much to want a PM who would adhere to his oath and stand by it irrespective of coalition pressures and Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s pulls? Is it not legitimate for this nation to deserve a Parliamentary democracy for which it had voted? Why has the PM yielded to a National Advisory Council which advises him? What has this nation done to deserve such a lame duck of a Prime Minister as Manmohan Singh? Can we afford to have a Prime Minister who admits to an error of judgment, accepts full responsibility for it but continues to hold on to the Prime Minister’s chair?

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