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Archive for April 2012

Where is the prime minister?

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Does India really have a Prime Minister? Ask this question to yourself. I am sure that your answer will be ambiguous. Of course, India does have one officially. Dr. Manmohan Singh is the prime minister of India since 22nd May 2004. Who would have expected that an economist will head the nation? May be the destiny and loyalty to the dynasty made Dr. Manmohan Singh the prime minister of India. However, despite being the prime minster, his presence in political arena is hardly felt.

When a number of scams were exposed (and some may still be in the process of being unearthed), I fail to remember any timely strong move from our prime minister and his government. On the contrary, zero-loss theory was propounded by his cabinet colleague. Moreover, Prime Minster Dr. Manmohan Singh invoked ‘coalition-dharma’ to avert action against the tainted minster A Raja who was involved in the Rs. 1.76 lakh crore telecom scam. Thanks to our judiciary, appropriate actions are being taken against the individuals involved in the scams.

The consecutive disclosures of scams have put a big question mark on the ability of Dr. Manmohan Singh; leave aside the credibility of UPA government. Dr. Singh has been termed as an honest prime minister of India but when the tax-payers money was being skimmed off under his nose, the ‘honest quality’ got disqualified.

It is said that an individual learns through experience. But this principle doesn’t seem true of the prime minister. Though Dr. Singh has served the country as the prime minister for eight years, is he competent enough to lead? Dr. Manmohan Singh, whether in UPA-I or UPA-II, looks the same when seen through the lens of politics and leadership. I wonder what would have been the condition of the UPA without Pranab Mukherjee, especially during its difficult times. Senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee is more than just a cabinet minister. It will not be inappropriate to say that Pranab Mukherjee is the unofficial executive head of India (of course, with the blessings of Sonia Gandhi and her advisory council).

Take the recent issues like Army chief’s age row, irregularities in defence forces or Koondankulam nuclear plant; the ineptitude is all pervasive. In addition to this, the delinking of talks (with neighbouring country Pakistan) from terror reflected the tactlessness of the UPA Government and its head in particular.

The prime minister is the head of the government of a country. He is supposed to lead the nation and address the issues faced by the people. India is governed by a prime minister who has barely put forth his views on important problems in the public domain. He is termed as the ‘silent PM’ of India because of his silence on the problems, whether complex or not so complex, faced by our country.

This famous Kashmiri adage seems apt for Dr. Manmohan Singh who finds silence a key to evade any sort of uncomfortable questions ─ Tshop Chaiy Rop Sinz, Karkhai Te Son Sinz (The silence is as good as silver, if practised it is golden).

(Originally published in Rediff)

Written by Varad Sharma

April 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm