Manmohan Singh – a ‘tragic figure’ of our times, – Yashwant Sinha
[dropcap]M[/dropcap]anmohan Singh will go down in history as the third longest serving Prime Minister of India since Independence. He has already started looking for alternative accommodation in Delhi which means that he has no wish to continue in that post beyond May 2014. Various commentators and analysts are already engaged in the exercise of assessing his legacy. For me, Manmohan Singh will go down in history as one of the most tragic figures of our times.
In 2004, when he was selected as Prime Minister by Sonia Gandhi, we were led to believe that a brilliant new arrangement had been devised by the UPA under which Sonia Gandhi would look after politics and Manmohan Singh would look after governance – an arrangement which the Constitution of India did not permit.The early economic successes of this government, largely based on the work done during the NDA regime gave currency to the theory that this arrangement was working beautifully. As Chairman of the National Advisory Council Sonia Gandhi regularly interfered in governance, but yet the dignity of the Office of the Prime Minister of India was not as totally compromised as now, with Rahul Gandhi around. People knew the truth but the facade was still intact. Today, even that pretense is gone.
The Cabinet of the Government of India in its wisdom decided to adopt an ordinance providing relief to convicted MPs and MLAs. Rahul Gandhi made a dramatic appearance at a Congress party press conference and declared that the ordinance should be torn and thrown away. Predictably, the cabinet met soon enough and withdrew the ordinance.
Similarly, in the meeting of the extended AICC, Rahul Gandhi, the householder, demanded that nine LPG cylinders were not enough for a family and the number should be raised to at least 12. The Prime Minister obeyed and Rahul Gandhi’s suggestion was notified
Speaking to the nation on September 21, 2012, to explain the reasons for the increase in administered prices of petroleum products, the Prime Minister had stated, “Where would the money have come from? Money does not grow on trees
Suddenly, money started going on trees and the Government of India had no hesitation in assuming the additional burden of Rs. 5000 core without batting an eyelid.
Rahul Gandhi is the new knight-in-shining-armour for the Congress party. Though he has never spoken a word about the various scams of the UPA government, he is determined to fight the corruption which exists in our system. Someone has convinced him that if five or six bills are passed corruption in India will come to an end.
These bills could not be passed in Parliament in the recently held session, but the knight-in-shining-armour must have his way.
Our neighbourhood is in much greater turmoil today than ever before. But the biggest setback is in our relationship with the one country that the Prime Minister loved, and that is the USA. Remember the time when he told President Bush that Indians loved him. He went to Washington in July 2005 and concluded the infamous nuclear deal with the US and surrendered the sovereignty of India in the nuclear field. But the same US with which he wished to build a long lasting relationship has now turned against India and there is a real war going on between us on various fronts.
Shankar Acharya, the former Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India in a recent article described Manmohan Singh’s legacy in the filed of economy as ugly and not merely bad. The same can be said about foreign affairs also. But, his tragedy is greater than his shattered legacy. His tragedy is the tragedy of human frailty in all its ugliness.
Yashwant Sinha is a BJP Member of Parliament and a former Union Minister of External Affairs.