Monday, July 11, 2011


Columnists condemn him. Cartoonists mock at him. Courts indict his Govt. Cabinet colleagues ignore him. Coalition partners show contempt towards him. Former media adviser declares he lacks political authority. Every lallu-punju writes an “open letter” to him, asks him 8 or 10 or 12 questions. Not to mention the opposition, for whom he is a soft target.

I am referring to Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India.
He wasn’t this bad earlier.
In fact a star performer, role model minister in 1991. Father of the liberalized Indian Economy.
He simplified the tax laws…. Reduced the tax rates…Encouraged foreign investments…Removed hurdles in doing business….You name any damn good thing in economics or public finance. He did it; initiated it.
But then, what happened in the last 10-15 years? Why does he look so last?
Scam after scam…and he was aware of the whole thing and kept quiet!
Sympathizes with Quottrochchi that CBI should not harass him!
Coalition partners negotiate, not with him but with Sonia who should be their representatives in HIS CABINET!

A few months back he seemed to be satisfied that his personal integrity was not being questioned. But does brand Manmohan Singh stand for just personal integrity? Does it not stand for smartness? Intelligence? Is it not the “friendly media” which in the hope of defending him subtly reduced him to a just personally incorruptible man? (It is another matter that the “friendly media” are also slowly getting wary of him.)
Ultimately he is reduced to a vegetable! He is no longer a player, but has become a spectator, mute, helpless.
Looks like he is doing President of India’s role in Prime Minister’s office.
But why is he sticking to his office?

What are his compulsions?

Corrupt politicians stick on to power. Take Karunanidhi & Co-  40+ years of specialization in corruption- wheat, sugar, cement, pesticides, road/dam/flyover/secretariat construction to spectrum, private telephone exchanges and still counting! Lallu Prasad Yadav & Co-  10+years experience in corruption; but fast learners. Mayawati Dalit & Co-  10+ years of crude, brazen, “so what” kind of corruption! But all these groups have generally remained in power, whether in the State or in the Centre. As they say, you have to be “in it” to be “out of it”! Power helps them stop/ divert CBI or such other inquiries, weaken court cases. But no one suspects Manmohan of corruption. He doesn’t need the protection that “power” offers. No CBI or Court or the currently fashionable “Lokpal” which may, in future, investigate this Govt.’s deals is going to hold Manmohan Singh responsible. (Am I putting my foot in my mouth?) The only deal in his entire tenure as Prime Minister in which he got personally involved was the nuclear deal. While there were allegations that he misled the parliament and the country on some vital facts of the deal, no one alleged or even suggested any quid-pro-quo. So this doesn’t seem to be the compulsion.

Physical threat. This sounds cinematic- taken straight out of Hindi movies of the 80’s! Or sounds like the foreign hand theory of Indira Gandhi regime- Sonia Gandhi, her Italian family and their “videshi chal”!

Ideological compulsions. There is a “bhooth” in the minds of secular politicians, journalists and social activists (the “katarnaak” group whose damage creating potential is yet to be appreciated) that if you are knowingly or unwittingly the reason for the collapse of this Govt., you are helping the communal BJP to come to power. Their theory is simple. Indian politics is a zero sum game- any loss to Congress or UPA is a gain to BJP and that is not permissible!
Scams involving lakhs of crores of rupees- permissible!
Denigration of the office of CVC, CEC, CAG- permissible!
Blatant misuse of CBI- permissible!
Scant respect for courts and their judgments -permissible!
So the theory is you do/don’t anything, continue/discontinue to do anything so that BJP is kept out.
Is Manmohan a prisoner of this ideological compulsion? Does he think that he owes this much to the nation that he continues to head an inefficient, corrupt Govt. so that BJP is kept away?
Let’s for a moment ignore whether BJP should be kept out of power at any cost, whether looting the country of crores of rupees is justified because Advani does not become the Prime Minister. Let’s just see whether the assumption that the collapse of UPA will lead to BJP forming the Govt. is valid.
Remember… the Communists were supporting UPA 1 because they thought the communal forces would come to power if they did not support UPA1. In the 2009 elections they did not join UPA. What happened? Did BJP come to power?
Similarly PAC report on 2G scam was to be rejected. UPA2 did not have sufficient numbers in PAC. What happened? Mayawati and Mulayam extended support. The report was rejected.
So if Manmohan were to resign, the Govt. will not collapse. No. The corrupt and self serving Congress and coalition partners are like octopus- they will align, re-align, support from outside, offer issue based support… do anything to ensure that the Govt. continues. They will install a corrupt guy as the PM. It is correct too- a corrupt Govt. headed by a corrupt PM is better than a corrupt Govt. headed by an honest PM!
If Manmohan has this illusion, let him come out of this.

Let’s look at the personal side.
I sympathize with him as a person. Imagine what Ms. Gursharan Kaur will feel whenever she sees media castigating him; what Ms. Upinder Singh will think whenever the court indicts him; how bad Ms. Daman Singh will feel when Advani calls him nikamma; how hurt will Ms. Amrit Singh be whenever some unknown blogger writes an open letter to him; if he chooses to continue in office now and the Govt. is voted out of power in the next elections, how will he feel about this in his retired life - that he did not forego the office but he was thrown out!

Manmohan should take the call now and resign.
If he is unable to take the call…
Soniaji…daya kiijiye Manmohanpar…chod diijiye une!


  1. I was also thinking why he is not resigning. Today I got your perspective on it and you have well said it.

  2. Good stuff on your blog Hariharan. For the fictional ones, making the paras smaller might make it a crispier read. I read both your J&K pieces too ---very well researched I must say. Will look out for the third one.

  3. Thanks Satish for your comments. I will keep your observations in mind while doing future posts.

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