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UPA to gain if Dr Singh steps down gracefully
The 'High Command' is trying to shield the Prime Minister despite many his many follies. Handling corruption-related cases is a case in point. The Congress has much to gain rather than lose if he decides to step down.

The Time magazine dated July 16, 2012 had famously called the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh an ‘underachiever’ and a ‘man in shadow’. UPA think-tank should have taken a cue from many such assessments of its premier in the national and the international press. But they didn’t. The result: A year on, the credibility of the UPA-II is at an all-time low. And, as observed by political analysts, much of the blame has to go to Dr Singh.

Well, it is difficult for any well-meaning individuals to doubt the individual integrity of a man who gave a fairly good administration when the UPA-I government was in power. However, the series of scams that jolted the entire administration right from the early days of the UPA-II government have cast a shadow over the credentials of Dr Singh. Eye-brows have been raised if the PM was not in the know-how of the 2G spectrum allocation, the Commonwealth Games muddle, the coal blocks allocation and the CBI fiasco that followed.

The Opposition NDA has never missed an opportunity to nail the government. Unfortunately, though, it has done so by stalling the Parliament sessions. The entire budget session of 2013 was lost in the din of demand for resignation of ministers. Even last year, the ‘coalgate scam’ resulted in the loss of over 13 days of the total 20 days of the monsoon session. Despite all such developments, the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi during the fourth anniversary of UPA-II on May 22 tried to shield the PM with the sole purpose of snubbing the Opposition.

The aim of this article is not to judge the administrative acumen of an intelligent Prime Minister who as Finance Minister had historically pulled India out from a near bankruptcy in 1991. In matters of economics and understanding the global pulse as regards trade and commerce, Dr Singh is still the man to look for. He has also steered well the UPA allies despite many controversies. The inflation after several months has come down to manageable levels.  

However, his sins of omission perhaps outnumber his many achievements in the recent past. First of all, he is seen today, more than during his tenure in the UPA-I government, as one who cannot act independently. He is seen as someone who cannot take policy decisions by dint of his sharp scholarly acumen. His poor response to the series of scams that emerged in the last four years has only further dented his credibility.

When fingers were raised over the involvement of the PM’s office in the ‘coalgate scam’ during his tenure as the in-charge of the coal ministry, his response never looked convincing. The recent revelation that the CBI report on coal mines allocation was vetted by the Law Minister further supports the belief that PM’s office was either involved in the scam or it was at least aware of it and yet did not bother to act. The CBI being termed by the Apex Court as a ‘caged parrot’ does not augur well for the government at a time when the highest investigating authority has been severely criticised repeatedly for being under the control of the government.

PM’s silence

It is the silence of Dr Singh that is most intriguing, if not annoying. His silence is no more seen as a sign of strength, but a means for escapism. He does not seem to have conclusive answers to the multiple uncomfortable questions that the public and the media are raising. Rarely has he given interviews to the media, except perhaps to a select band of journalists on board special aircrafts on his number of visits abroad.

During last four years, six ministers, including A. Raja and Ashwani Kumar, have resigned on charges of corruption and scam-related cases. However, the Congress has vociferously defended and protected its Prime Minister, despite several charges being levelled against him. Unfortunately, by doing this the UPA’s credibility has continued to plummet and might reach the rock bottom in the coming days.

The only option left for the government to salvage some hope to regain part of the lost credibility is to politely ask the PM to resign gracefully and bring in someone who can restore the lost pride. By doing this, the UPA in general and the Congress party in particular will also win a battle against the Opposition without losing much, as by retaining Mr Singh they may have much more to lose, especially during the impending general elections.

If the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair in Great Britain and Richard Nixon in the US had stepped down when they were involved in controversies, one wonders whether Dr Singh’s continuation in office, in spite of his and his party’s tarnished image, will give any advantage at all to the UPA administration.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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