Dr. Anjan K Das
Originally posted on Reflections.
Sometimes a good politician does not realise that he is getting past his sell by date. I strongly suspect that this is what is happening to Dr Manmohan Singh. There is no doubt that he is deserving of our respect and gratitude for his work during the nineties and also during his first term as Prime Minister where he cooled down passions generated by the arrogance of the BJP following the success of their Gujarat line, declined to behave as if the poor did not exist and to my mind, most importantly, told Karat and co where to get off. However now it seems increasingly obvious to all of us , if not to his own party and to himself that it is time that he retired.
He should learn from the experience of his predecessor. Atal Behari Vajpayee was all set to retire in 2004. However I think he was seduced by the power and I strongly suspect, wanted to trip up Advani and was prevailed upon to try again with the disastrous results that we have seen. He had to face the unnecessary humiliation of being outmaneuvered by somebody who was widely thought to be nowhere near him in political and administrative experience. If he had retired when he had planned then it would have been concluded that his absence was the cause of the BJP defeat, giving his status another boost.
Coming back to the good Doctor. I really cannot understand what he is doing nowadays other than playing the local partner of the Americans. It was brave of him to stand up to the idiots in the CPM for the nuclear deal, but now he seems to be protesting a bit too much for Uncle Sam. Also the cabinet is in shambles, everybody doing his own thing and his writ does not even seem to run in his own department.
I feel sorry for Pranab Mukherjee. He is by far the most competent minister in the centre. He is ideally placed to be the Prime Minister and in any merit driven party he would definitely have been the PM. Unfortunately in the eighties he had led a short and abortive revolt against Rajiv Gandhi, and he is now paying the price. I still feel that he can be a very good Prime Minister though he is now perhaps a little too old.
And what about P Chidambaram? I wonder if he realises that he can never be Prime Minister so long as he stays in the Congress unless the stars fall as kindly as they did for Narashima Rao. In a normal party he would be the obvious choice as the PM maybe after the next election, but the post is reserved, if the Congress wins and that is a big if, for the Prince of Amethi. It is a pity that the NCP was created by such third grade people, it is time there was a Congress party without the given of a Gandhi to lead it. However the present party is so constructed that it is difficult to imagine this happening in the foreseeable future.
Perhaps somebody will make it possible for a meritorious person to ascend to the highest posts in the Congress? After all Dynasties do fade away, though I must admit that the Gandhi dynasty seems to be going as strong as ever. Maybe somebody like a younger Sheila Dixit will do the trick?