What is the public view of this one year government?
The UPA completes one year in office. What is its achievements? What are its failures?
The UPA wants to bring out a booklet. For preparing this booklet, the UPA had called the CPI and the CPI(M) for a breakfast meeting with the PM to finalise the draft of what to print and what to be left out. The Communists as expected had given out a list of demands. Their demands include the left out promises like employment guarantee etc.
In the meantime, there have been lots of developments. Lalu’s troubles with the court cases. The tainted ministers issue had given the BJP an opportunity to boycott Parliament. Vajpayee and Advani are senior leaders who had run the government. As such they should see wisdom and act responsibly. They should attend Parliament and bring dignity to the great institutions of democracy and also to themselves.
There is a senior member of Parliament as Speaker and the Opposition leaders must respect the sentiments of the members and the people.
Yes, the Prime Minister after one year is seen suddenly as a weak Prime Minister and his authority and prestige might vanish fastly if somethings are not done or happening.
One editorial writer in a leading daily wrote under a rather provocative title : the strengths of a weak Prime Minister! Yes, the one argument in favour of Singh was he is clean and honest. This title is his own and no one can appropriate this honour. But then : is this enough for a Prime Minister of a country like India? There have been more weaker Prime Ministers in India in the past. We can list them. V.P.Singh, I.K.Gujral and even P.V.Narasimha Rao, also the Chandrashekhar regime were weak. Even if elected by a popular election V.P.Singh couldn’t do much but to go in the few months. Chandrashekhar was flop for he had neither legitimacy nor was able to articulate a vision as his admirers hoped for. He proved a disaster. P.V.N. was a weak Prime Minister by his very weak personality. His regime ended with so much of shame and disaster when he couldn’t save Babri Masjid and he was booked for political bribes. This was too much for such a goodman but an extremely weak personality. Deve Gowda and I.K.Gujral were contrasts. Gowda had the boldness of decision making but he was short-circuited. Gujral could not have done more than what he did in a brief tenure. Among the strong Prime Ministers we can rank Pandit Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Nehru by his strong and well-articulated ideological strengths. He was morally powerful and he commanded instant respect cutting across many spectrums of opinion. Indira Gandhi was not only strong but also all powerful. She was a dictator in a modern democracy. Also she paid a high price, ultimately by her life. Rajiv Gandhi got the biggest majority and yet he squandered the goodwill by inexperience. How will Manmohan Singh’s tenure be rated or how long will it go on? When it will end? In what form?
A writer on democracy says, insightfully, that democrats have been out-campaigned, out-gunned by aggressive parties and regimes of vested interests. Yes, this is what is happening. Singh is a captive of powerful regional chieftains. This is no democracy! Even in the State Assemblies, these regional chieftains are practising their own narrow, even anti-democratic, anti-Parliamentary politics.
The Congress is no paragon of all virtues. There are reports of corruption. Sonia Gandhi is a victim or a schemer? Only time can tell.
The writers and intellectuals writing on modern democracy have mixed verdicts. As for India they don’t say much. As for us, all we can say now, is that, yes, our Supreme Court and Election Commission are alert. That is a gain. There is a wide ranging coalition at the Centre. Everyone has a stake. So, no hasty destabilisation is possible. The vested interests, we mean, the business classes and other professions like law and judiciary and other rich and powerful who occupy Rajya Sabha seats are also there to see that no big mischief is made.
Now, the major countries face different challenges. America to save its dollar, as it is highly debt-ridden economy. EU to emerge as a powerful economic bloc. Russia to find its economic feet. China its place in the new world. Japan has it own priorities.
India? Still Indians are not given any clarity of purpose by our current crop of leaders. Manmohan Singh, though commonly seen as an economic expert is no promotor of economic growth. See his one year in office and his previous record. Like fellow economists ,inside and outside India, he is talking in vague language, there is no clear statement from Indian economists they have no love lost for Karl Marx. This shows Indian timidity of character! That is all. Nor Indian economists say they believe in a predominantly private sector economic growth. Yes, it is only Capitalist economic path only can transform India into an economic powerhouse. We have to get out of the bureaucratic mindset. Discard all the 100 odd committees set up Singh. This is no way to create wealth. It is, as Arun Shourie said, to give employment for 100 days, as promised in the UPA’s CMP!
Joke apart, we have to become mature people. We have to learn to speak the truths in economics. India has a great chance. But we have to grasp the tenets of economics, history and technological revolutions. We have to have a political sense, a sensitivity.
We have been witnessing how the many really powerful politicians, in all parties, are taking big chunks of money from industrial houses to fight an election or to settle scores with their enemies. So, Indian democracy is a heady combination of so many selfish interests that every section has a stake in our system perpetuating itself. For the foreseeable future! The point is that our democracy doesn’t offer scope for adventurers! We have also nearly six decades of living with a Parliamentary system. So, even if Singh goes, sooner or later, the political system will survive and kick itself off for a renewed vigour of a new stable life!