April 23, 2021
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Manmohan Singh V/s Anna Hazare

Manmohan Singh V/s Anna Hazare

Ramachandra Guha in the Telegraph evaluates Manmohan Singh:

There were great expectations of Singh as prime minister; few of which have been fulfilled. Those who thought that the co-author (with P.V. Narasimha Rao) of the first generation of economic reforms would further free entrepreneurs from State control have been disappointed. So have those who hoped the experienced administrator would modernize the civil service by encouraging the lateral entry of professionals, those who believed that the former secretary general of the South Commission would adopt a foreign policy independent of Western (more specifically, American) pressures; and most of all, those who imagined that a person of rectitude and personal honesty would promote probity in politics and administration.

This last failure explains, among other things, the appeal of Anna Hazare, a man whose intellectual vision is as confined as Singh’s is large. In the early part of 2011, as the evidence of cabinet collusion in the Commonwealth Games and 2G scams accumulated, the prime minister continued to shield his corrupt ministers. After Anna Hazare’s fasts, a popular, countrywide movement against corruption began to take shape. Singh still would not act. In the popular imagination, the prime minister was now seen as indecisive and self-serving, his fellow septuagenarian, Anna Hazare, as courageous and self-sacrificing. It is a mark of how disappointing Manmohan Singh’s second term has been that it has allowed an authoritarian village reformer — with little understanding of what Mohandas K. Gandhi said, did, or meant — to claim the mantle of the Mahatma.

Guha goes on to offer four reasons why an honest, intelligent, experienced man, whose appointment as prime minister in 2004 was so widely welcomed has been such a disappointment in office:

  1. His timidity, bordering at times on obsequiousness, towards the president of the Congress.
  2. His timidity in not contesting a Lok Sabha seat.
  3. His lack of judgment when it comes to choosing key advisers.
  4. His keenness to win good chits from Western leaders.

Do you have other reasons to add to the list?

Read the full article at Telegraph: A Prime Minister in Peril

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