April 21, 2009

Time for Testimonials

Every General Election in the country brings in its wake personal attacks, mud-slinging, name-calling, accusations and allegations of all kinds amongst and against political parties and individual candidates standing for the elections. In the surcharged atmosphere where the fate of 500 plus representatives of the people as well as members of several State Assemblies hangs in balance and the stakes are high, such events are almost unavoidable as the campaigning reaches a crescendo. The people have also come to cynically accept even a fair share of violent incidents and acts of intimidation as if they are as inevitable as the Elections.

The present General Elections 2009 for the 15th Lok Sabha have, however, brought new lows in no holds barred campaigning where the fault lines and weaknesses of the opposing parties and candidates have been ruthlessly highlighted before the electorate.

One such issue that has become a high point of campaigning during the on-going Elections is the highlighting of Sardar Manmohan Singh as a weak Prime Minister. The main Opposition Party BJP has made it a particular point to constantly hammer at this aspect throughout its campaign as a weighty argument against Congress Party and a Government led by that Party.

Sincere and honest that he undoubtedly is and capable that he is reputed to be, the fact that Manmohan Singh is weak in the position of Prime Minister does not need to be proved. His actions or inactions in key matters of the State Policy such as internal security and terrorism, his benign approach towards some incompetent, corrupt or otherwise wayward colleagues (which may be partly but not in all cases due to the compulsions of coalition politics) and his apparently servile attitude towards his Party Chief and her son in full conformity with the Party norm of sycophancy, leave hardly any doubt on this score. As far as internal security is concerned, it is amply clear that the ambivalent, almost non-existent, policy of the Government led by him with regard to dealing with terrorism did nothing to curb it but in fact emboldened the terrorists to strike at will during the last few years. No one needs to give a certificate about the abject failure of the Government led by him to deal with terrorism which is so very evident. The weak-kneed approach could have been due to his own unwilligness to take a firm view in the matter. Or, he could have been prevented by others against his own better judgment from doing what should have been done. In either case, in the net result it clearly shows his own weakness.
Apart from issues of governance, to cap it all, he has not thought it necessary to face the people by standing for the Lok Sabha although Mr. Rahul G. apparently with his poor understanding of the electoral situation claimed that Manmohan Singh could be elected from any seat if he stood!! (see this article too)

As far as his attitude towards the Party Chief and her family is concerned, Manmohan Singh does not let go of any opportunity to affirm that he is beholden to them personally for the opportunity to be the Prime Minister.
Read this:
When asked who between him and Rahul Gandhi would be the next PM, Singh said, "You have heard the Congress President and you have heard Rahul Gandhi. I think the answer is quite clear." (Times of India, 20th Apr. 2009)

Unfortunately for the Congress Party, regardless of whether Opposition parties highlight this point or not, the public perception about Manmohan Singh being weak as Prime Minister is too strong. So pervasive is this perception that even political allies by their actions show that they too concur with the people.

Even for his own Party; this particular issue has been giving cause for serious concern to the extent that even the Congress Party President has been going to great lengths to repeatedly make it a point to spring to his defense. Since the last couple of weeks, strenuous efforts are being made by the Party and in particular its President and "her family" to emphasize that he is not a weak Prime Minister.

The views of the Household members at 10, Janpath

To thwart such attacks on Manmohan Singh, the Party also went to the extent of twisting the matter by saying that an insult to the Prime Minister was an insult to the country, forgetting completely that not the Prime Minister but the person who would still like to occupy that chair was being referred to. His mentor also blamed L.K.Advani of BJP of being a slave to RSS(why accuse only Singh of being a slave?). It was nothing short of a tacit admission of the reality of Manmohan Singh's position.

On his part, Manmohan Singh himself has been trying to assert that he is not a weak Prime Minister.

He has also been suitably showing his admiration for his mentors as a member of this Mutual Admiration society.

Mutual Admiration Society

His latest unabashed quote: “Rahul has all the qualities to be a good prime minister”.

Their combined efforts have so far failed to impress the people in spite of reaching almost farcical proportions.

Whatever testimonials these actors on the electoral stage manage to exchange amongst themselves, it must be hoped that the people will see the realities and vote responsibly without getting carried away.

On the Campaign Trail of Rahul's fiefdom.......

सारे जहाँ से अच्छा, हिंदोस्ताँ हमारा