The prime minister said that the UPA Government has been taking the job of governing the country very seriously. Can anyone trust him anymore especially after all the loot of the country that has happened on his watch?
Udupi: Watching his interaction with editors of select television channels, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this morning came out much less honest than his meticulously cultivated image that was portrayed in the “mainstream media”.
Singh also inadvertently portrayed himself as an indecisive leader. (The only thing he appeared to be firm about is sticking to the prime minister’s chair: “I have to complete this term!”
And, finally, he also seemed to confirm the charge against him that he feels it is okay for the coporate rich to be richer at the cost of the “aam admi” and India’s teeming poor.
Putting the blame for all the problems on others and sundry, including the opposition parties and “coalition pressures”, Singh tried his level best to deflect the charges against him, but only managed to portray himself as a helpless, pitiable caricature of his projected self.
Singh virtually admitted that many decisions — many of them dubious — were taken by individual ministers and officials without the full participation of the Cabinet. This again only helped project an image that the prime minister of India is less powerful than his cabinet colleagues or that they care two hoots for his opinion.
But Singh’s apparent greed for the chair and his own perceived “indispensability” made him rule out his stepping down from prime ministership, while claiming that steps would be taken on a later date — after the all-important budget that affects the lives of all citizens of India — to allegedly purge his cabinet of corrupt or non-performing elements.
Singh also appeared to be blaming an otherwise tame media for exposing the many scams, saying, “an impression has gone out that we are a scam-driven country. In the process we are weakening the confidence of the people of the country. It’s not in the interest of anybody in the country.”
“Whatever our own domestic weaknesses, we shouldn’t create an atmosphere where people of the country should lose confidence. India as a whole has to march forward,” he said, almost admonishing the media. Oh man, why do you report scams and the loot of this country?
His replies to several queries were incredulous if not outright unbeleiveable. Take this, for example: “Complaints were coming in but I was not in a position to make up my mind if anything was seriously wrong.” This was after he was asked why A. Raja was re-inducted into the cabinet even after allegations started to surface about the 2G spectrum scam.
Also, the prime minister expressed his ignorance about what is good governance by claiming that he was not aware of the methodology of the controversial First-Come, First-Serve (FCFS) policy followed for 2G spectrum allocation by disgraced former telecom minister A. Raja.
Unconvincing answers marked the entire interaction. Take this for example: “We are here to govern seriously, tackle the problem seriously and to take the country forward. Our economy is in good shape and there will be 8.5 per cent growth this fiscal year.” Oh yeah? Is this how a less than honest, indecisive person takes this country “forward”?
On including Raja and Dayanidhi Maran into the cabinet, the prime minister said that in a coalition government, the choices of the Leaders of the Alliance partners have to accepted and that the DMK had suggested Raja and Maran into the Union Cabinet.
“At that moment, there was no reason to feel that anything wrong had been done,” he said. But did he later realise that it was wrong and did he correct himself?
“I did not feel that I had the authority to object to Raja’s entry although complaints were coming from some companies who were not benefitted and some who had not benefitted adequately. I was not in a position to make up my mind about Raja,” he said.
Okay, then who had the authority? I think Barkha Dutt of NDTV has the answer! No guesses here…
And, the corporate sector did no wrong in making huge profits by selling away the spectrum it got at dirt cheap rates, says Manmohan. After all, they have to make money, no?
“I am not that big a culprit as being made out to be,” he said in reply to a question whether he would accept personal responsibility as head of the government for whatever has happened in the government.
But as to why he does not step down, Singh made a subconcious statement about his indispensability: “I am conscious about personal responsibility. I feel about it. My compulsion is that I have to bear a lot because we cannot have elections every six months. Some compromises have to be made in managing a coalition. A coalition government has to be viewed in a context that no single party has emerged to rule by itself,” he said.
Singh blames the opposition, especially his favourite punching bag, the Bharatiya Janata Party for most his problems. He said because the opposition had stalled Parliament, there was the delay in introduction of the Constitution Amendment Bill on the goods and service tax (GST) and other reforms.
Singh conveniently forgot to mention that it was the stalling of the demand for a Joint Parilamentary Committee (JPC) that resulted in the stalemate. Now his party seems to have realised their mistake and is on the verge of accepting the opposition’s demands.
Okay, now, am I the only one getting this sinking feeling? To give credit where it is due, mainstream media’s poster boy, CNN-IBN, in its opening statements in its reports on its website, said: “Finally, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh broke his silence, only to sound less than convincing about his own effectiveness in containing corruption within his administration. Harping repeatedly on the need for compromises in managing coalitions, he virtually admitted that many decisions, possibly dubious, were taken by individual ministers and officials without the full participation of the Cabinet.”
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