He is simply exhausted!
He had flown around 50 hours in one week!
His eight-day tour took him across 50,000 km in four continents!
Is such hard work worth? Why international diplomacy at this time of the crisis-ridden domestic situation?
What about the economic slow-down and when governance is almost at a standstill?
Prime Minister’s style of functioning!
Too ineffective and proving too unaffordable?
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had just now concluded an eight-day hard work schedule overseas by travelling grueling long flights and using so much time and energy in international diplomacy.
Of course, only on these overseas trips, that too in very remote and very long-distance geography we get to hear the PM’s voice a bit louder. Louder than what we used to hear him inside the country, be it in Parliament where he is usually a picture of silent listener and watcher and otherwise, we hardly even see him either in the media or on the TV screens.
He is by his very nature a very solitary man and keeps to himself and hardly seen in a crowd, he doesn’t seem to conduct any janata durbars in his Race Course Road or we ever hear him as a public person. He never seemed to have received any visitor or visitors, who are otherwise interesting people, poets or artists or even intellectuals, as Nehru used to do, even Indira Gandhi used to practice it as a contrived art and show piece!
So, we read this time that the PM’s present eight-day tour spanned across 50,000 km in four continents. The shortest leg of the journey was an eight-hour flying from Rio to Pretoria in South Africa. This is for what? What was achieved? Nobody knows. No media reports are available.
Then, he also undertook still more long hours of flying. This longest leg of flying took 11 hours and this is from Frankfurt to Los Cabos! Where is this place? What is its importance for India? Now we learn that Los Cabos is in Mexico. The Prime Minister has flown for around 50 hours in just one week!
By any standards this is a record for a Prime Minister of a country and that too to a man of Singh’s age and health history.
This is a grueling schedule for any person of even lesser age but for Singh who underwent a second bypass surgery not long ago; this is a realty torture of sorts.
Why this arduous foreign journey?
Obviously, the Prime Minister believes that India has a lot to contribute to the Rio-20 conferences. Ms.Sunita Narain, CSE, calls the Rio declaration, “weak and meaningless”. Singh had a number of bilateral conferences with all sorts of heads of states. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason, so to say to travel so long and conduct bilateral conferences. So many scarce resources, the Air India felt, now grounded owing to the pilots on-going strike must have come in handy for the PM and the party to use more than one aircraft. It looked like that from the fact that AI India cancelled some of the international flights citing the deployment of the aircraft for the PM’s overseas trips.
Anyone in his place would have simply stayed back and sent many of his younger colleagues to attend these summits. Though they called for high profile presence of top leaders, what Dr.Singh had done seems quite inexplicable.
He met and conversed in bilateral talks with almost as many as 11 heads of states, most of them Indian’s close neighbours, from Sri Lanka and Maldives and even from Bhutan and Nepal even!
Why travel all the long distance to meet these gentlemen?
At home he had left behind him insurmountable problems.
With Mukerjee busy with his presidential ambitions and much canvassing work, the PM is the only economist even to make sense of the economic mess left behind Mr.Mukerjee.
Now only we see slowly criticism coming out from other more senior and competent men like former finance minister Yashwant Sinha and others.
Sonia Gandhi also seems to be in a fix. She has to undergo her medical tests in the USA and her trip is now held up owing to many factors.
Who has to re=start the engine of economic recovery, now with Mr.Mukerjee out of the scenario?
The message from the private sector is also very ominous.
Most big corporates like Reliance, Infosys, wipro and others are sitting on plies of investible cash and there must be some momentum created.
The corporate heads, not long ago wrote to the PM about governance. Why not call them for a face to face chit chat?
What about FDI?
PM’s remarks on his return journey are very imprecise and very general.
How the Prime Minister hopes to stay in his job and yet do his day to day functioning.
Unless some new face or faces are brought into the government, preferably some fresh faces from the corporate sector, some faces like K.V.Kamath or a Deepak Parekh and bold and radical steps are taken to attract FDI, there doesn’t seem to be any hope.
Who knows the rest of the term, upto 2014, might prove to be a lameduck session for the UPA-II.
There is exhaustion everywhere, there is a sense of helplessness and at the same time, there is the crises in the Opposition ranks, BJP is undergoing a rumoil and that may be the only saving grace for the Congress to do what it seems to be doing.
As for the Prime Minister the only consolation is that he has got a two year grace period to stay on.
Who knows the real debate from now onwards might be who would be the next two Prime Ministerial candidates, one from the BJP and another from the Congress!
Image Source : thescape.in