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Millennium Post

Manmohan flare ups don’t impress

In what would be seen as a last-ditch effort gone waste, the Prime Minister’s valedictory speech reminded one of what is fundamentally wrong with the UPA leadership. Either it just lacks the ability to see through, or it maintains a defiant blindness to every problem within not just the union government but also the ruling party, the Congress. Otherwise, why would Manmohan Singh’s endeavour to pitch a third term for the UPA dispensation appear more or less an exercise in self-mockery, except in a moment when he attacks Narendra Modi’s version of tough governance? As is evident, Singh floundered on most issues, particularly those that dealt with the policy paralysis plaguing the UPA, even as he ruled out a third term as the PM for himself. Yet except for a handful of memorable lines, most of them self-exculpatory, Singh’s flare ups just failed to impress not only the Congress detractors but also supporters, to whom the PM handed out no reason to carry on cheering for the utterly discredited UPA-II. That Singh fails to shoulder the ultimate responsibility for the string of corruption scandals and scams rocking the country, trying to skirt the charges by hiding behind the fig leaf of dis-/misinformation, is indicative of the all-pervasive rot that is eating the UPA from within. Not only are corruption and misgovernance the biggest issues in the eyes of the discerning public, as is evident by the rise of AAP in the national capital and the gains of BJP in the four state assembly polls, the unbridled greed and scramble for national resources in issuing telecom and mining rights to undeserving corporate bigwigs has created an immense disenchantment with the entrenched political-bureaucratic-business nexus. That Manmohan Singh fails to comprehend the public mood and steer his discourse to soothe the flared nerves of the angry citizens bespeaks a larger myopia that has systematically destroyed Congress over the last few years of the UPA-II regime.

While Singh hints at the likelihood of Rahul Gandhi taking on the baton from himself, and rules out resigning before his term is complete, he, nevertheless does not allay the concerns over the Congress vice-president’s ability to take the reins of the party and see it succeed in the Lok Sabha elections. Not only is Singh silent on Gandhi’s resounding failures in revving up support and victory in the recent state polls, he is also eerily quiet on how rudderless and visionless the Congress top brass really is, especially when the Gandhi scion has made a habit out of publicly reprimanding the union cabinet’s decisions on myriad issues. Moreover, despite Singh’s best efforts, his personal honesty or integrity had been used as hollow excuses to cover up massive flaws in the UPA, with enormous losses to the public exchequer happening right under his nose. India, under Singh’s leadership, has allowed a superlatively hiked FDI cap in sensitive and key sectors such as defence, telecom, banking, insurance, power exchanges as well as asset reconstruction and credit information, instead of just FDI in single and multi-brand retail, meant to shore up the dipping growth rate and the persistent economic slump. Even as the common man battles incessant inflation and rise in prices of essential commodities, Singh’s parading of UPA’s ‘good work’ in bringing in watershed legislations such as Right to Education, Right to Information, MGNREGA, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, the Land Acquisition Act, the Food Security Act as well as Lokpal Act have not cut much ice, mostly because of gaping holes in implementation. Singh’s penultimate farewell speech, is therefore, a much ado about nothing.
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