A democratically elected leader must become the Prime Minister
A Prime Minister is a leader. A genuine leader leads and he believes in a set of hardcore beliefs.
What are Manmohan Singh’s beliefs? What is his belief system, his ideology? Time and tide wait for nobody? Yes, in politics too this seems to be the case. Now, in India there seems to be a subtle paradigm shift in the politics and rather in the mindset of the politicians.
In the Congress there is a new sense of reality. In the party and the government. In the Opposition too we see a new reality. As Yashwant Sinha, the senior BJP leader put it the other day, there is an Indian mindset now, a mindset that seems to grip the Indian politicians, and they don’t want to give up any posts they have occupied, legitimately or otherwise.
This is real politik? Or, an ideological conviction?
See the BJP leaders who led the party in the elections. Or, the CPI (M) leaders who led it to defeat. The Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi, both stay put in their respective posts. The result?
An emerging distortion, a discovery of the real limitations of the respective leaders. The new crisis within the Congress party, the government. The party doesn’t show solidarity with the Prime Minister over his deals with Pakistan or the USA.
In the government, inside the Cabinet, the PM’s authority no more seems to prevail. Mamata Banerjee and A.K.Anthony over certain latest bills and proposals. Land acquisition bill and Free trade in Asian. There is a terrible sense of artificiality in the Indian political scenario of today. There is an air of illusion about everything that concerns our beliefs and action.
The 2009 Lok Sabha elections were won by the Congress-led coalition. Fine. But then it was not a full-fledged majority for the Congress party, though the party won overwhelmingly. But then who won the elections? Rahul Gandhi? Yes, that was the indulgence for the Congress party men. But a more balanced and objective analysis points to various factors.
Yes, one was for political stability. Another factor was a sense of maturity in the polity for unity, development and a more emerging realisation on the part of the minorities and Dalits that it is better to give the Centre a strong message of support.
But then surely, Rahul alone didn’t win. His UP strategy was forced on him; rather the circumstances didn’t favour any other alternative. But then Bihar proved the real situation in the cow belt. Now, to say the Manmohan Singh leadership helped is an illusion. In fact, why Rahul didn’t choose to become the Prime Minister or his mother would have been the real question. Manmohan was only their mascot; he himself has no standing in the party or in the government.
This is now proved, after just two months after he took oath for the second time. His series of failures, in the G-8, in the Indo-Pak dialogue joint statement, now with the US secretary of state visit and her signing of the EUMA (end use monitoring agreement) over the use of US arms have led to a furore in Parliament.
There is now a clear realisation inside the party and the government as well outside in the country at large that the Prime Minister is no more in his elements. His deft touch so far helped him. When it comes to more challenges, more so on very complicated and more sophisticated areas of foreign policy formulations and strategic decision-making there is no statesman in Singh nor is there any insightful personality about the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister proved at last what he is really. A quiet, no-nonsense, simple soul, doing his job he is good at. That is he is a quintessential bureaucrat, cast in the age-old Indian mould, subservient, unquestioning and doing what he is asked to do. This is the British gift to India and we only squandered on thrusting our problems on others.
In fact, Sonia Gandhi herself as a leader of India, leader of the Indian National Congress, let alone as the President of the Congress party for so long a time was extraordinary. We all thought we were living at extraordinary times. We are not! See how the country is being governed. On July 26, 2009 came the 10th year victory of the Kargil war. What happened that day? The print media reported the news of the commemoration of the event in Drass in the far-off Drass in the snow-cast J&K Himalayan range there gathered the parents and military personnel, including the former army chief V.P.Malik whose leadership only led to victory, but the print media the next day reported that the Prime Minister led the nation to pay its homage at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. Where is it? In New Delhi. It is the India Gate memorial built by the British to commemorate the First World War dead.
In Drass there is a war memorial for the 610 soldiers dead and the 59 days war in 1999 was a sort of watershed in India’s many wars. The TV channels played a more genuine role, they reported the events alive, TV today, NDTV and IBN-CNN devoted considerable time and days too in giving the nation a sense of the tragedy and the triumph our armed forces had gone through the each and everyone of the participants in the programmes all these few days brought home how the country responded to the many sorrows and tears.
What was conveyed was the real feelings of the people in the army. What was brought home and what was completely backed out by the mainstream press the next day was the stunning reality that none of the leaders, from the Indian President who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed forces to the Prime Minister or the Defence Minister of the Minister of state for defence didn’t participate in the Drass ceremony!
The armed forces, the widows and the mothers and parents who lost their loved ones said in one voice: we don’t want medals and money or any such things. We want to know that the nation cared for us!
What a sad spectacle? Here we have such highly elevated dignitaries who occupy high constitutional posts who display utter disregard, utter callousness and utter breach of protocol! You don’t know what your high constitutional duties and obligations entail! How sad and how disappointing? Who is responsible for this fall of standards in public life? In political values and culture?
Manmohan Singh is after all the reigning Prime Minister. He is a learned man. He must be only realising acutely how the high office he holds demands from him to perform his duties to the best abilities. He has valiantly did his duties so far. It looks as if not anymore. The man is clearly tired. He looks not also keeping good health. Given his age and his medical condition, what he is doing is extraordinary.
But then there is the larger country, larger issues than the situation of one individual, however he or she might be highly placed or one finds oneself. India is a big country with a long history. India has a great political legacy too.
The land of Gandhi and Nehru also casts a great burden, moral burden on us, everyone of us, to stand up and speak our minds and do our duty to the nation. So, I have taken this moral burden on myself and what to say and share with my countrymen what I feel like about the current artificiality that prevails and pervades the political situation in the country and in New Delhi.
The Indian National Congress too has a long history and traditions. The party is 125 years old and there have been illustrious men and women who gave their entire lives for nurturing the party and the people towards freedom.
Today, there is no Indian National Congress as we have come to know of it. The party hardly exists outside Delhi! There is no elected body or bodies at all levels, almost. The party president is not elected, she is there for now some 12 years. This is an anomaly. There are proper elections even for the AICC, no PCCs in many states. In many major states, there is no functioning party setup.
In UP at last, the PCC chief Rita Bhahuguna kicked up a controversy with some unparliamentarily remarks on the UP chief minister and her house was burnt. For days, nearly two weeks or so no party leader visited the scene of crime! Only belatedly Mr.Digvijay Singh visited her house and sort of consoled her.
Whenever Mrs.Sonia Gandhi visits Tamil Nadu, she doesn’t visit the Congress headquarters, the venerated Satyamurthi Bhavan. She straight goes to the DMK headquarters! What an insult, asks many a veteran Congressman in the state. But then who cares?
The party with 35 MLAs in the current Assembly is simply fearful of the all powerful Mr.K.Karunanidhi, he is so clever in corrupting the political system, and there is no one, none at all to speak for the Congress party to participate in the minority government there.
In other states the situation is worse, say observers. Sonia Gandhi, as the party president must be running the party on proper lines. But she doesn’t show any inclination at all.’ She doesn’t visit her office, she doesn’t attend office, she doesn’t receive visitors in her office and her residence is office-cum everything.
Rahul Gandhi too doesn’t attend office nor does he keep any correspondence with party men or outsiders. They don’t reply to letters from party seniors or juniors. Then, where is the scope for ordinary party workers to go and see them?
The point here is that the Congress party is now filled with all sorts of characters. The current Parliament, as it is widely reported in the press, with full of bad characters, MPs with criminal records are too many to give comfort to any observer of the Indian scene, too many crorepatis, too many contractors and too many MPs with so many bad precedents, MPs took cash to ask questions, MPs who did this or that crime for which they were punished. Even there is an MP or MLA who was just a security guard in Sonia Gandhi’s household.
Sonia Gandhi’s leadership qualities are now coming into public view, with the current major flops in foreign affairs, in the Indo-Pakistan dialogue process, in fighting violence, both terror-linked violence as well as the Maoist-driven violence.
One is not sure what the current dispensation’s perceptions of the threats internally as well as from externally. What seems a gapping hole in the Indian polity today is there are not enough senior leaders, the party veterans in the critical positions. There are not enough senior Congress leaders from the states.
There are not enough senior party veterans in key positions like the governors, the current crop of governors are all picked by for the wrong reasons, they may be pretending to be loyalists but they are not. Policemen, bureaucrats, spies and they are sent out in an adhoc manner, so that we see some governors are moved out to neighbouring states in their mid-term. As soon as the one 25-year long law minister was dropped from the government he was hastily packed off to a state as governor! Why such a hurry!
There are not enough senior Congress men with leadership and other qualities sent out as ambassadors to big countries, not even to small countries. There are no consolation prizes even for the long time party workers or seniors from within the party. The ambassadors sent by Manmohan Singh regime represents the lowest denominators, they are all pensioners attending to their children’s education abroad
Manmohan Singh is doing the unpardonable thing now, he has given extensions to many senior officers, the entire bureaucracy in Delhi is see thing with discontent, there are so many old faces continued even in the second innings. Are they so indispensable? How long?
Surely, the PM, as a long serving bureaucrat and as Prime Minister must adhere to some procedure, to some time-frame for everyone in the government. Now, what we see is total arbitrariness, total anarchy of sorts in the governing of the state.
The cruelest thing is to see the CBI now left with no serious jobs! The CBI raided some ticket counter touts in railway stations! Is this all to Manmohan Singh’s visions and governance priorities?
Now, India is embarking upon a heavy arms buying spree. It is very disappointing, this heavy arms purchase scheme. I was wondering whether the men who takes these heavy decisions are worthy of such big tasks? Buying large quantity of arms is no guarantee of any security or peace on our borders.
There are already debates in the Indian media that the current purchases are not the top end ones and not critical to India’s defence.1970s era F-16s,F-18s(11 billion dollar deal)are no match. Japan mulls over F-22s and F-35s.It is said that supplies from France, Israel and Russia are more important for India’s defence. And the end user monitoring agreement seems to be more humiliating. There must have been wider debate inside and outside parliament before signatures were put. Now, even for the more sensitive ones like nuclear attack submarines, attack carrier etc.
There is a widespread fear that the US has laid a “honey-trap”, India might lose out on its long term vision and its own unique place in the world. India must play its own role in world affairs. So, who would allay our fears and reassure us? Not the Prime Minister or Sonia Gandhi they don’t seem to have a clue or an intention to lead us into a golden future.
Am I right or becoming just paranoid? Please, may my readers enlighten me! We need defence, more we need diplomacy and strategy and a vision towards an international order that can ensure world peace and regional parity and peace initiatives. India must be leading the disarmaments talks. Who talks of disarmament, containing nuclear proliferation, and world peace order. Not the current leaders who are all there for the wrong reasons.
In NAM meet in Egypt, India was nowhere, where dictators were setting out policies and dictating terms for the next NAM. Where was India? Not even any photo opps! What sort of foreign jaunts we undertake and for what ends?
Even the selection of ministerial posts in such sensitive areas like foreign policy formulation and articulation, it seems, not much serious thought was not given. Sonia-Singh choices for these high posts are far from mature, they reflect their own limitations and fears of rivalry.
This is my view, a view from a distance. The choice of high constitutional posts also revealed the limitations of the Indian leadership. I want the Indian public and the intelligentsia to debate these points and issues with an open mind. I have no axe to grind. I am a patriot and my only anxiety is that India must display a much well-articulated moral strength. The inner courage and moral capabilities of the common citizen of India. Unto the last! Jai Hind!