Thursday, May 02, 2013

How Dr. Manmohan Singh Beats V.P. Singh Hands Down...

It was really a no contest till recently. The late V.P. Singh was the undisputed winner of this trophy. He also remains the classic example of a middle class hero who became a middle class villain. Till he became the Prime Minister, V.P. Singh was the anti-corruption crusader and messiah who rode on the infamy of the Bofors scam. Of course, Indians soon realised that pious crusaders do not always become good leaders. Mercifully, his tenure did not last long enough for V.P. Singh to inflict irreparable damage to India.

I used the words “till recently” because there was some lingering, forlorn hope that the current Prime Minister would at least do something that would enable V.P. Singh to retain the crown. But then, forlorn hopes always remain hopeless. I realised this when I read newspaper stories about how a Supreme Court Bench has yet again criticised the PMO. This time, the rap on the knuckles is because the Prime Minister has failed to convene a meeting of the Cauvery River Authority despite reminders. Allow me to use the words of the Bench: “What do you mean by this? It is shocking that you require the consent of all the states even for a date of a meeting? Is the PM to see his convenience or the convenience of the members? It is surprising that the PMO is asking the convenience of everybody before fixing the meeting.” Just imagine. The Prime Minister is the head of the Cauvery River Authority set up to tackle the often ugly dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the sharing of Cauvery waters. What conclusion can you draw from the fact that he is not able to set up a meeting with some chief ministers? Either he is truly helpless and powerless, or he is indifferent and callous. Either ways, it bodes ill for India.

This incident and the rap on the knuckles by the Supreme Court is not front page news. Nor will it lead our television anchors to froth at the mouth. Yet, in a small but very significant way, it reflects the disappointment and disaster that Dr. Manmohan Singh has been. In 2009, he was a true blue middle class hero because the Congress won virtually all urban seats in the Lok Sabha elections, including seven out of seven in Delhi. Today, that halo has been torn to shreds. Of course, the middle class Indian is very fickle and unreliable. And later historians might have more charitable things to say about the tenure of Manmohan Singh. The more charitable may say that Indians expected too much from him and hence the disappointment and anger.

Source : IIPM Editorial, 2013.
An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri
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