Time seems to be finally catching up with the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, an underestimated politician and perhaps an overestimated economist. In today’s scenario that he has landed vis-à-vis 2G spectrum, one wishes it is proved wrong, that he is also an ‘overestimated’ honest man! At least, politically, he is not.
The handling of Rs 1.76 lakh crore scam proves that point rather convincingly. Well, the practical argument is he and the Congress party leadership – of virtuous Rahul Gandhi and saint Sonia (sic) – was arm-twisted by DMK. So was the left with regard the Nuclear deal with the United States. But on that Congress and Dr Singh claimed to have taken a principled stand “in national interest”, did not succumb to Prakash Karat pressure; but on 2G spectrum the story was different. Why?
But no longer. The façade is not working anymore.
Till date, Dr Singh used to enjoy the best of the world. While Sonia Gandhi got her share of blame – from time to time for political mishandling or so; an helpless Pranab Mukherjee sweat it out to convince partners, opposition parties and party men as the chief troubleshooter. On the other hand, Dr Singh gave unto himself the role of enjoying the power --- somewhat a Brahminical power without responsibilities.
The responsibilities, he implied was of Sonia Gandhi and Pranab Mukherjee, ironically his boss many years ago.
But the tested adage of P V Narasimha Rao – law will take its own course – has now caught up with Dr Singh. It’s the law which is inferring that he has erred in handling the 2G spectrum issue in more ways than one.
Having said these, one needs to point at certain internal issues within Congress and how the party has itself to be blamed for the present impasse.
The special steering committee meet on November 3, 2010 concentrating solely on RSS bashing and leaving corruption fungus in the safety of AICC cupboards should haunt it any day.
There is already talk about slowly and certain but minor scuffle between Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and the party – even if not Congress president Sonia Gandhi herself.
She is still considered too powerful for ‘non-political’ character like Dr Singh, though his admirers and adversaries feel slowly the ‘underestimated’ politician in him is showing some glimpses of verb.
Into his second year since 2009, perhaps, he is trying to be little more forceful and persuasive in pushing his personal preferences. Grapevine is a senior parliamentarian from Andhra Pradesh was denied the Lok Sabha Speaker’s post in 2009 even after his name was cleared formally by UPA alliance in a joint sitting.
If the conjectures are to be believed, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee and even top Congress leaders had reportedly complimented the said member for being chosen for the coveted office in June 2009; when Dr Singh threw in the Dalit-woman card to elevate his ‘Water Resources Minister’ Meira Kumar for the key job. Kumar was already sworn in as Minister and also allocated portfolio.
There are elements in Congress party who suggest that even while allocating the portfolios, Dr Singh was little more aggressive this time unlike 2004. Making Anand Sharma the commerce minister is seen as Dr Singh’s personal intervention as a special case. Similarly, when A Raja and Prithviraj Chavan moved out of his ministry, all their portfolios were passed on to another trusted lieutenant of Dr Singh, Kapil Sibal. Anand Sharma and Sibal are reportedly being rewarded for backing Manmohan Singh during turbulent days of nuclear deal with the US “by going out of the way”.
Dr Singh’s admirers are reported to have floated the theory that the 2009 mandate for UPA was in effect a mandate for him.
He is the real TINA, there is no alternative, before the Congress party.
His media advisor has already spoken against Congress in a public function; and yet continues to enjoy the Prime Minister’s confidence.
On November 16, 2010 itself, the Supreme Court posed a question for the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh why he delayed in giving sanction for prosecuting Raja for his alleged involvement in Rs 1,70,000 crore 2G Spectrum scam. "For good governance, there must be some time-limit for granting sanctions, if not three months. But 11 months is too long," said the Supreme Court.
"Why was there alleged inaction and silence on the part of the sanctioning authority who is the Prime Minister. Application should have been dealt with urgently. The facts are self speaking," the two-judge bench of Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly remarked.
"I don't recall any incident in the past 60 years of the Supreme Court making such remarks against the PMO. And I believe that the Prime Minister should respond to the Supreme Court immediately," said Advani.
The CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury demanded that the Prime Minister should get his act together on the bizarre episode. Supreme Court has also rightly questioned the manner P J Thomas was appointed as CVC.
Prime Minister needs to do so explanation. The date with destiny could be around and cannot be postponed for ever. India’s heart today beats for some of these explanations!