Cong. Just Found A Narsimha Rao In Manmohan Singh
Of the infinite comical scenes enacted in the Indian Parliament, none has been more tragic than the sight early this year of a barely-able-to-stand Arjun Singh walking into the House using his walking stick and a wheelchair, to carry out the two primary duties of a Congressman - giving clean chit to and praising (late PM) Rajiv Gandhi and blaming (late PM) Narasimha Rao of all ills happened during the days of Congress (I) rule.
The occassion was a debate on the escape provided to Bhopal Gas Tragedy accused Warren Anderson and the purpose was to ... well ... simply re-write history, by telling the world how it was actually Narasimha Rao, and not Rajiv Gandhi, who had allowed Anderson to escape in official car, along with official security.
Years from now, the internal Congress (I) history would read just two sentences:
All good done by - and only by - Indira Ji, Rajiv Ji, Sonia Ji, Rahul Ji
Fortunately or otherwise, Congress (I) might just have found out another Narasimha Rao in PM Manmohan Singh yesterday.
Alas, the timing could not have been worse for the party - as the 'succession plan' is far from getting the finishing touches!
Replying to a petition filed by Janata Party President and former Law Minister Subramaniam Swamy, who had sought sanction for the prosecution of tainted (former) Telecom Minister A Raja, the Supreme Court of India yesterday put in front of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the following, extremely incisive pointers:
"Can the sanctioning authority (Prime Minister in this case) sit on the complaint?"
"The three months time for grant of sanction laid by the Supreme Court is clear for fair and good governance,"
"We find it is now more than 16 months. The sanctioning authority can say I am not inclined to give sanction. But we find alleged inaction and silence troubling,"
This is a body blow as painful as it gets for the Congress (I). A honest, clean PM Manmohan Singh is the final line of defence in the Congress (I) that one has to breach before reaching 10 Janpath.
But now that even screaming frontpage headlines across media have found the courage to question the 'silence & inaction' of PM, it can now be safely said that the process of Manmohan Singh becoming Narsimha Rao - Part 2 has just about begun.
To understand how the two are linked, we will briefly go through the curious 'internal deliverance hierarchy' of Congress (I).
As we all know, the 'High Command' cannot be seen to be governing anything in pubic; and therefore cannot be held for any wrong-doing in matters of governance. And then, there is the ultimate trump card - a "clean Prime Minister of unquestionable personal integrity", to shield against any charges of corruption at the top.
So, basically, all the corrupt and criminal acts by Congress (I) workers or Ministers are mere acts of wrong-doing by individuals, who are - upholding the highest principles set by the High Command and / or the Prime Minister - immediately asked to resign!
While Congress (I) President Smt. Sonia Gandhi has long been accorded sainthood by the party, the whole packaging of PM Manmohan Singh by well-oiled Congress PR machinery reminds of description of former PM Atal Bihar Vajpayee as, "the right man in the wrong party". The only difference is that that identity was gifted to Vajpayee by his rivals - largely because his own people couldn't have called their own party the wrong party and partly because BJP was still too much of a 'street activists' party' to know anything about image spinning.
Pertinently to the present topic, Ex PM Vajpayee was also called the 'Mukhota' (meaning 'mask', in Hindi) - thereby implying that BJP used to get away with its 'real face or identity' by projecting former PM Vajpayee as its representative.
The pot calling the kettle black, anyone?
Anyway, coming back to subject: Such is the Halo around Smt Sonia and Dr. Singh, one self-made and one hand-picked by the self-made, that it is virtually criminal to question them about anything.
Now, though undesirable, it is understandable that the Chairperson of UPA, who, inspite of all powers infested with, remains (officially) a political entity and has to be concerned with the 'Coalition Dharm'.
But the position of Prime Minister is, and should, be concerned singularly with just the well-being of the nation and its people. And that's precisely why the Prime Minister - even of the 'unquestionable integrity' type - needs to be questioned for all his actions or the lack of it.
Furthermore, what does 'integrity' mean anyway?
Since we have borrowed the Indian Parliament - brick, mortar and morals - from the British, let's dig into the Oxford dictionary for some enlightment. The dictionary defines 'integrity' as:
Yes, he is a honest INDIVIDUAL with strong moral principles - something that would be more than sufficient for 'an individual' in vaccum. But whether you live by laws of Physics or not, every single entity is, can be and has to be defined in the perspective of its very own context.
And the context here is that Sardar (Dr.) Manmohan Singh, an eminent economist, happens to be the Prime Minister of a country that is grappling with poverty and is situated in the most dangerous neighbourhood of this world.
And therefore, the other principal variant meaning of 'integrity' comes into play viz., the state of being whole and undivided.
Is he - wholly and undividedly concerned ONLY about the well-being of the Indian State and her people?
The question itself may be redundant because it may not be his mandate to be anything but a proxy Congress PM of the nation!
Otherwise, shouldn't being whole and undivided in duty towards the nation mean that he takes the initiative and action against anyone - absolutely anyone - who works against the idea of Indian constitution; every single time?
Can the Prime Minister give even a single example of him taking the lead in taking action against the corrupt? Again, maybe he does not have the mandate of his party to take initiatives.
One of the most disgusting praises that is heaped on PM Manmohan Singh is that "he is a very simple man, who does not understand politics". Leaving aside the morbid corollary that the praise holds when said about the leader of a democracy, let's talk in the language that the PM understands viz., finance:
Can PM Manmohan Singh come up with ONE financial institution or private limited company across the world that would praise its CEO for "impeccable personal integrity", while he merely (or is 'conveniently' the word here?) watches and allows the VPs, GMs and even junior executives siphon off company money?
Unless that is precisely the mandate given to the CEO by the owner of the company!
And that is what is the crux of the whole matter.
India's honourable Prime Minister Sardar (Dr.) Manmohan Singh seems to have only always worked as a CEO of Congress (I), under the ownership of the party - with the extremely limited mandate of, as ever, maintaining status quo!
Does a Prime Minister's overlooking of nation for his party sound anything like a life full of 'integrity'?
No, Manmohan Singh Ji, from a neutral third-person assessment, it sounds like just another politician hanging on to the highest post of the land.
And what should concern you is that you have got sub-consciously got moulded into giving out that impression.
Did Smt. Sonia Gandhi make any governance or propriety blunders? Did Rahul Gandhi make any? Why would they; when they could make YOU the face of the blips.
Years from now, a very old, barely mobile Pranab Mukherjee might be called into Parliament to tell the world and the Parliament history-writers that IT WAS YOU who had cost the nation Rs. 1,76,000 Crores.
And that might just be correct!