PM = Puppet Minister?

Another thing that Saravana Kumar asked to write was about the failures of our Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. OK. Let's discuss about them as well. I am one of those who wanted Congress to win but didn't want Sonia to become the Prime Minister in 2004. I have somehow never been impressed with BJP as a political party. But, I could never digest talking about Sonia as a better leader than Vajpayee. I don't even like comparing her with Advani. I don't think she has any other qualification in Indian politics than to have impressed the right person. Like everyone else, I also accepted her as a noble leader and what she did as a major sacrifice when she refused to become the Prime Minister of this nation.

Even when I heard that it was not a decision that she took on her own and she was forced to take that decision because of the pressure put by Subramanian Swamy through the President, I didn't take it seriously. I don't think she should not rule us just because she is a foreigner. There is no point in talking about things like one's nationality unless the person is the most qualified one in all other respects. OK. She refused the offer. We were happy. What next? Who is the next choice? I thought, irrespective of whoever it is, this decision of hers would make Congress party look more democratic in people's eyes. Since Manmohan Singh was reasonably active as opposition leader in the previous BJP regime, I thought he had a chance and I also wanted him to be the next Prime Minister of this nation.

When things unfolded the way I wanted, I was very happy and surprised to see the dream of a common man like me coming true in such a high level decision of national importance. I thought someone who was the Governor of the Reserve Bank becoming our country's finance minister and then the same person becoming our Prime Minister were great things to happen to us. I also believed that the Indian politics had stepped into its next phase with that decision. From that day till almost a year back, Manmohan Singh was my most respected Indian politician. I also believed that he was the best Prime Minister India had ever had. Better than even Nehru!

On the other hand, who is the worst PM we have ever had? When I ask this question to my friends who are interested in politics, most of them say one of the two notorious south Indian names. I think, Narasimha Rao is the most hated and ridiculed Indian PM ever. He is one of the very few democratically elected leaders in Congress. His failure was a failure for democracy itself. Leaving all these aside, if there is one great thing that he has done to this country during his time, it was his decision to bring Manmohan Singh to spearhead the finance ministry.

Something like this was an order of the day when the country's economy was in such a bad state. Everything that happened after that has been good for us. Though some responsible politicians like the leftists are dead against his economic policies, considering the practicalities what he did was extraordinary to a nation that had lost its path midway. That is what has brought us here today to a state where we have started dreaming about becoming a super power. Because of all these, I always had great respect for him. I have always wanted educated - qualified people like him from middle class backgrounds to enter politics. That's what can educate people about what such people are capable of doing as opposed to the uneducated - money minded people with criminal backgrounds that we have today.

In the backdrop of all different innovative scams that were coming out every day, even when the whole country had started hating him in the beginning of last year, I was saying "How can 'he' be responsible for all these? He is a person of unquestionable integrity. He is stuck with bad people. He is a victim of the situation!". But, I am not able to speak like that forever. Even now I am not able to hate him. But, the hatred that we have developed towards his party in last few years have kind of started giving irritation about why he is sticking to this position despite all these.

It's true that he is a victim of the situation. But, why should he continue as the victim even after all these? That's what I am not able to understand. I don't think he is stuck with them in a way that he can never escape from them. Nor can we say that he has tasted the power of power and that is why he is clinging on to it so adamantly. Even his enemies know that he is not such a person. Then why? Why is he so fond if this position?

Even when Advani criticized him saying he brought down the dignity of the Prime Minister Office, I was more unhappy with Advani than him. When he said he was the weakest Prime Minister that the country had ever seen, I used to justify saying, "Yes. But, there are reasons for that and we should try to understand them!". There is a limit to anything. How long can we be patient and persistent? It doesn't matter if you are good or bad when you can't control bad people under you. Our laws and value systems say that if you are party to looting you are a looter too. You don't necessarily have to do it yourself to get that name.

There are many problems that wouldn't have been different irrespective of whoever became our Prime Minister, as long as it's a Congressman or woman. We can ignore those problems in our discussion today. But, there is another list of problems which would have been handled in much better ways if it was anybody other than him in his place. Let's talk about only those problems today. Finally, let's also see how he can handle them better going forward. Economic policy, Nuclear policy, Foreign policy and Defence policy are such things that would be the same irrespective whichever Congressman comes to power. One area where he has failed miserably is, his performance against the corruption (I wouldn't be surprised if there is a new policy called Corruption policy!).

As far as corruption is concerned it is the allies that played worse than Congress. Especially, DMK. He should have done something as soon as the 2G issue came up. Something means? He should have packed up Raja and replaced him with a clean Congress man (Hope 'clean Congress man' isn't an oxymoron!). Then, how to handle DMK? Who will ensure that they don't join hands with BJP to form a 'secular' alliance again? From Congress's perspective, 'It's better to compromise on few small things to stay in power instead of being adamant about every silly thing and indirectly helping the opponent to come back to power!". It's sensible stand indeed.

But, there is a limit to anything. You should know in what kind of issues you could compromise and be flexible. A compromise that indirectly helps the largest corruption in the world's history can never be justified. He should ensure that his subordinates listen to him. If they don't, he should call them and warn. Even then if they don't listen, he should either throw away his position or the ones that don't listen to him from their positions. People are only worried that they can't come back if they throw away positions. They don't realize that they could come back stronger by throwing them away. It's a risk, but worth taking it. It's worth only if you are in politics to serve the people. What's more surprising is, why is Manmohan Singh, who is not a politician by design, so hesitant to throw it away?

I have heard about his two conditions to Narasimha Rao when the latter approached him to take up the finance minister job. One - "You should never make me the scapegoat for anything!". Another one - "You shouldn't interfere in my job!". "If you violate either of these conditions, I will just walk out!". It seems keeping his words he also walked out once. I have read that when he hiked the petrol price and PVN asked him to reduce it, he fumed saying, "You are violating the agreement!". PVN had to convince him hard to keep him in job. Why is such a straight forward person not able to do the same thing with Sonia? That's the million dollar question most of us have today.

Had he thrown away his job and written an autobiography, he would have at least had the fulfillment of having lived with conscience till the end. What has he got now? Only bad name! As the weakest Prime Minister this country ever had and the owner of the most corrupt government that this world has witnessed! He has only given room for Raja to blame him repeatedly like a broken a record saying "The Prime Minister was aware of everything that happened!". He also repeatedly answers like a broken record saying "I don't know about anything!". If he still has the conscience he had ten years ago, he would have surely got an inner question many times, "Why the hell should I lead such a miserable life?". He should have lost his sleep many nights. Did you experience all these, sir? Or, Have you changed too?

Even now, it's not too late. When you wake up to go to office tomorrow morning, you just have to go with a resolute mind to face anything. It's enough if you just do the following few changes. Congress can start dreaming about coming back to power again next time. You can also spend rest of your life without any guilty feeling. It's not that he can't change like that. Someone who has been the Governor of Reserve Bank can't be so weak. It's okay even if he is not able to do any of these changes. He can just come out and write an autobiography with the details of what tied him down for so long. His book will be received better than his government.

OK. What are those changes that we want him to do? Here you go...
1. Get rid of DMK with immediate effect. If possible, you could even apologize for the seven years of anti-people relationship that you had with them. It would also help you expedite the actions against corruption. It would be good if the only guy who still remains in Delhi is sent back immediately to Madurai. He can't anyway run his mini government now in Madurai. It's Amma raj now, not his Appa raj. This would not at all result in Congress government getting toppled. There are many parties who just want to be part of UPA - nothing more. The only obstacle to this is the all powerful PC that is loyal to his savior MK for turning the table when he was losing in his constituency in the last general elections (Hope you understand what I am referring to!). If you just tell him, "My son, your seat itself is in trouble now!", he would keep quiet.

2. He should call Mr. Sharad Pawar, who floated his own party when his Prime Minister dream went for a toss and came back to join hands with Congress when he realized that he couldn't even become a chief minister again under his own banner, and advise, "My dear friend, if you like only watching Cricket matches, why did you come to politics? If you are so fond of games, take sports ministry. But, give all the rotting grains to poor people and give the rotting food ministry to someone who has some stuff!". If that sounds difficult, Congress has its own style of handling such people. Use CBI and media to bring out all his mischief and force him to resign on his own. If you want any help on this front, go to Sonia's house. There will be a lot of guys roaming around there. You just have to catch hold of them. They will take care of it for you. Your job will be made easier.

3. Please send back our Krishna to Bangalore and give his ministry to some capable candidate. Bangalore without Krishna is like Bangalore without ISKCON. Heard that his grandchildren are missing him too much too. Let him be peaceful in his seventies at least. Not only him. There are many of his colleagues who need such rest. Let them all take rest. They would say that the health of the nation is more important than that of theirs. But, we the people think otherwise. For us, their health is more important than the country's. So... please... leave them and bring some youngsters whose blood has not clotted yet.

4. Call this Kapil Sibal and give him some counselling. Tell him, "My dear brother, you worked properly for some time in between. But, I don't know what happened suddenly. You have started speaking too much again. Tell me if you need any additional support from my side to do your duty properly. It's not our duty to save anyone. Please forget that you are a lawyer by profession for some time and work harder!". If possible, give the telecom ministry to a youngster who understands it well. I mean, someone like Dayanidhi Maran, but should be a clean guy. Let Kapil concentrate on educational reforms. It's good for both himself and the country. If he is too fond of speaking too much, give him the law ministry with a simple condition saying "Speak honestly!". Even there, there is a lot of work for next few years.

5. I know that you don't like speaking much. However, being the 'Prime' Minister of the nation, it's your duty to be in touch with your people. I understand that you are trying to avoid some embarrassment by avoiding meetings with media. But, please do understand that you are also allowing some problems to become larger than life (the life of your government!) by avoiding them. So, just keep meeting them and allow them to speak themselves even if you are not comfortable doing it. You would at least get to know what is happening around you. They know about all gimmicks that your ministers do, which you yourself do not know. Because, your ministers are meeting them more often than you do. You don't have to be worried about getting exposed. Because, you anyway don't do any gimmicks, right?! And, yeah, I don't think you don't do anything at all though most of my friends say so. Maybe, you 'are' doing a lot of things. But, what is hurting us is not the things that you do, but the things that you don't do.


  1. I strongly disagree with people when they say PVN Rao was the worst PM of our country. When he held the PMO, the country was facing the worst financial crisis since Independence. It was HIM who created a turning-point by dismantling the socialist economy. If we are taking fat pay-checks back home, if we are growing into a super-power, we should be indebted for his move on economic liberalization. Here, I know Dr. MMS was the finance minister. But, Mr. PM had the spine to take a bold decision.I know you have not mentioned much about him and not the topic of discussion, but I felt I should put my point across.

    Personally, I wanted Vajapayee and Abdul Kalam combo to continue for the second time. Sadly, it did not happen. Vajapayee was a man with vision. I could see him with a man of charisma more than a man from BJP.

    I could not even imagine Sonia Gandhi being our country's PM. I share similar thoughts as yours. But, when they removed Abdul Kalam and brought in Prathiba Patil. Dislike started. I could always proudly tell who was the FIRST person in our country till Kalam was there. But, that clean man opposed office of profit and Sonia changed her cards. Dr. MMS MUTE!

    Our beloved PM is spineless, a puppet and what not. It is a real shame on our country.
    He is just incubating the seat for the prince.

    I dread our future. Brainless Rahul as our PM.

    SAD state of our country. We don't have options.

    IF IF we had Vallabhai Patel as our first PM, our country would have been in a different path altogether. That is what I believe.

    I think I am writing a blog post in the comment. LOts lots to say. But, I think I should stop at this.

  2. Yes. PVN is the one who took us to the next level as a country. But, he also took the nation to the next level in terms of corruption as well. He is hated more for the second half of his tenure where he played too much with power. The first half is still one of the best few years in the history of independent India.

    Yes. You brought out a point that I missed out. Everything started looking promising when Sonia refused to become PM. Then, again everything started blurring when Abdul Kalam was sent out in such a disgraceful manner. I think I have talked about it in one of my earlier posts. These two things are two major milestones in the last two decades of Indian politics.

    I don't know about Patel's family. Maybe, if he had been the first PM, we would be running behind his great grandchildren by now, I guess. :)

    And, yes. Thanks for the long comment. I suggest you write some political articles as well since you have so much to talk about. Would you do?

  3. Oh! Thanks a lot for the suggestion. I consider myself immature to write analytical articles on politics. I am currently absorbing and observing the writers. You can call it a learning phase.Hopefully I will start expressing my views soon. And I work as a software engineer in Bangalore to earn my bread.

  4. All your 5 suggestions are good; but the questions is if he has not done these in the last 7, why would he do now. Also while DMK is known liability which he should get rid off, Kapil Sibal is mistaken to be an asset! Sooner Manmohan Singh realises this, better for him.

  5. @Spicy- That's okay. It has to start somewhere, right? It's not that all of us who write analytical articles are analytically mature... ;-)

  6. @Hariharan- Thanks for the comment, sir. All in all, what we are saying is he has more liabilities than assets. Being an expert in finance, he shouldn't take too much time to understand this. ;-)

  7. Great article, I wish things can work the way you suggested...

  8. well thought off..gr8 suggestions...but i agree with Mr. Hariharan Valady...when he haven't done it is 7yrs, he would not do it now...

    great post though :)

  9. Thanks Sub.

    True. We are shouting on deaf ears. He has already had 7 deaf years. He will just manage few more years and go once the prince says he is ready to take over. :(

  10. great post there :) Of course everyone seems to have that question in mind whether he's just a puppet. I hing a person with such education and background as him should have stepped down once he knew things were not in his control. Seriously, sad state of affairs.

    ....Here I Am!

  11. Thanks for reading and the comment, Vijay.

  12. Awesome!! A balanced and well absorbed write-up it is! Unlike me,you don't allow emotions to creep in to take control of the facts-that is very good thing. I am learning from you :)

    Few points->
    1.Post Godhra episode Atalji took time (& also courage) to teach Modi some basics. Hence he will always remain an example for to-be-leaders of setting up priorities without compromising one's integrity.

    2.Singh on other hand disappointed his admirers by his famous ceaser's wife & coalition remarks. Narsimha raised him to do the top job & Singh was an honest man then-is point well taken. But recall Singh defended Rao against the charges of corruption asking ceaser's wife must be above any question-marks. Least we knew then that he will use the same words as a PM himself.

    3.A loser can't be a leader is the truth. Alas. He will do best FM, but PM? Not anymore.

    4.Great observations about PC and Sibal. I don't know much about Swamy-I am getting to learn him.

    And I loved those sweet sarcastic strokes ;) Keep them coming :)

  13. Thank you so much, Rohan.

    Yeah, he is one of the most qualified yet least effective prime ministers we have ever had. :(

  14. People say PVN wasn't a good PM? Are they crazy? I read in an article recently when I was researching on MMS, that PVN is the man who took care of drowning India. And, this is such a well articulated post....I think, I will read this post once again when I am compiling something on politics again....

    Cheers Bharathi :)

  15. @Chintan- Thanks for reading the post, as suggested. I read the whole article that you had suggested. Very good one it was.

    Yeah, he did make some historical policy changes but he was also very corrupt in the later part of his tenure, right?

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