Currently all over Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and SMS’s in India are jokes like this one:
Jawaharlal Nehru proved that a rich man can become the country’s Prime Minister;
Lal Bahadur Shastri proved that a poor man can become the Prime Minister;
Indira Gandhi proved that a woman can become the Prime Minister;
Morarji Desai proved that an old man can become the Prime Minister;
Rajiv Gandhi proved that a young man can become the Prime Minister;
I.K. Gujral proved that a gentleman can become the Prime Minister;
Deve Gowda proved just about anybody can become the Prime Minister;
Manmohan Singh has proved that India does not need a Prime Minister.
It is clever, pointed and really ha-ha-ha funny – except it is also true and tragic.
With the country racing towards the next General Elections in 2014, all debates are around Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. One a Chief Minister of one state (out of 30) and the other a political non-entity except by coronation. Both haven’t been announced as Prime Ministerial candidates.
In this scenario, there is one being who is completely overlooked. Who should have been an obvious rallying point and a leading figure in to 2014 elections. The current prime Minister of the country.
The Prime Minister of the country, one who has been in that role for a decade, no less, is not even mentioned. Manmohan Singh is the first person to be Prime Minister of India two consecutive and complete terms after Jawharalal Nehru. This is a record. This is something that is going to go into our history books. Future generations are probably going to have an entire chapter on the man we know as “Maun”mohan Singh. He has the dubious distinction of being the Prime Minister of the country without having won any election. (He stood in Delhi and lost. He was appointed as MP into the Rajya Sabha from Assam).
Often mocked as the puppet Prime Minister, always accused of having nothing to say (his silence has been debated over a lot), Manmohan Singh has shamelessly stayed in his role as a regent holding on to the throne for the Crown Prince to deign to take over. He has quietly helmed the country in to its most corrupt phase — taking indicators as the width, depth and frequency of scams; the acceptance of and resignation about corruption that the citizens feel and the galloping prices of every single thing in the country.
Another one which has started in the past couple of days all over the social media is: Five rupees to hear Narendra Modi’s speech is a small fee against the price India has paid for10 years of Manmohan Singh’s silence.
This one is equally funny, true and tragic.
However, Manmohan Singh and the past decade is not a failing of the government or politics. It is the failing of the votary and the civil society. We are the people who have voted in this government. We are the ones who choose this government. By the action of voting or inaction of not-voting we have created the current monster that we call government. Now is the time to redeem the wrong.
Every organization has annual appraisals. The elected government has one in five years via the General Elections. Everyone who is in a job knows the value of the annual review and works hard to perform well so that they get a good appraisal. Question yourself, after one decade; 10 whole years, does the current government deserve to still be in power?
This is not a diatribe against the UPA government, but a hope that the next government will be a choice (i.e. we all cast our votes) made with awareness. The voter is the appraiser here. Appraise the performance not the slogans. Go by the performance when the party has been in power, not the performance when they are campaigning. And most definitely, see the action, don’t get swept away with the emotional posturing.