Millennium Post

Importance of being Manmohan

Normally what our prime minister says are heard by the Indian media, not necessarily by Indians as such. There are good reasons for that. Over the last four years or so, Singh has proved himself to be a person who is unable to exercise his judgment. Indians did believe that he definitely had a good sense or what is called fair judgment. But after the uninterrupted revelations of corruptions under the very nose of our honest prime minister, ‘an open book’ he prefers to be called, what Singh says does not matter much any more.

His statement on Rahul Gandhi that he will be an ideal choice as prime minister in 2014 is one such declaration from Singh. Since our prime minister is an open book Indians anywhere know that what he says on the party is irrelevant. He has absolutely no say in the party. What is more he has no command over his party men. Yet he opted to air his view that Rahul Gandhi is the right choice! Could it be under the instruction from his superiors?

By articulating Rahul’s fitness as the candidate to the chief executive of the nation, Manmohan Singh has brought himself down to the same level of numerous sycophants who loiter around the Congress party. We need not ponder much if it is an elevation in status for our prime minister. In party circle he does not have it anyway. Yet he chose to make the statement.

There are two parts to his statement. First he endorsed Rahul’s candidature. Second he evinced interest to serve under him. One only hopes he did not mean it like Deve Gowda. The prime minister by chance for a year was keen to join the cabinet in UPA-I. In India no prime minister has ever joined the cabinet like that. The Karnataka MP had to be given enough hints to desist from the aspiration of a cabinet berth. The question that comes to our mind, people who still respect Singh for his honesty and wisdom (not necessarily of the type a leader should have), is in what capacity will Singh serve under the prime minister Rahul?

Let us now come back to his endorsement of Rahul Gandhi as the choice of Congress in 2014. Rank wise Singh is officially the senior most in the government. He has been our prime minister for uninterrupted two terms. In another seven months he will complete 10 years, just less than the term of Indira Gandhi, Nehru’s heir. Given the complex political situation in near future it is unlikely that any other leader will touch his record soon.

The only factor that might rudely interrupt the 10-year tenure of Singh could be if the party opts for one senior cabinet minister as the next face to be projected and asks him to make way. By openly endorsing Rahul Gandhi for the post Singh has ensured that such aspiring voices are silenced. Who said that our prime minister did not have political sense? The other critical part of Singh’s statement is that he is an open book. Honestly nobody can deny that as a person Manmohan Singh is honest. By reminding the country the same he has sent a message to the aspiring congressmen who want to capitalise on Rahul Gandhi’s vacillation. If Singh has replaced the party will not enjoy the shield of Singh’s reputation. The only fig leaf that Congress has in election 2014 is Manmohan Singh’s
personal record. Junk him and the party will be on a slippery slope.  

Given the present day fashion of declaring the prime ministerial candidate before election – which clicked when BJP announced that the next bari (term) would be for Atal Bihari – Congress cannot avoid naming a face. If the party names somebody other than Rahul it will be construed as a weakness. If it anoints Rahul it will be like sending the heir to a vicious battleground. With the current mood of the nation and his poor oratory skill Rahul Gandhi will be a sitting duck for all politicians opposed to the idea of the divine right of a family to rule the nation.

By openly endorsing Rahul, Singh has cleverly told his detractors that they should look before they leap. Reading together the two parts of his statement – open book and Rahul as ideal choice – it seems that Manmohan Singh has nicely highlighted the unavoidable fact that without him the heir apparent cannot even take a tentative step ahead. When Congress was enjoying the political shenanigans within the BJP over Narendra Modi, the unassuming Singh has reminded them the reality. Congress needs Manmohan Singh again in 2014 as a shield for Rahul Gandhi.
Clearly the only option the party is left with is to move ahead with Singh as the face who will guide the eternal novice Rahul Gandhi. Clearly the posters of Congress in election 2014 must have the same three faces as in 2009 – Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Howsoever much
Congressmen would have liked to junk him, there is no option available. Manmohan Singh has merely highlighted his own critical position with a statement that apparently seemed sycophantic.   

The author is a communication professional

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