Our Prime Minister addressed the Indian expatriate community; the world’s second largest, at Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, 2014. The most intriguing part of this address was sensible use of words in his speech proclaiming the fitness of his party to lead the country for the third time in a row. Addressing the concern of expatriate community regarding the current condition of Indian economy and polity, he dished out critical achievement of his government to everyone present- covering education, health, communication, transport and most importantly economy and governance. He claimed to provide open, transparent, accountable and clean government, ostentatiously taking claim for the Right to Information, the Lokpal legislation, the Government Procurement Bill, better systems for the allocation of natural resources and empowering law enforcement and audit agencies. The press conference by the Indian Prime minister Manmohan Singh was a real stuff to attract Indian expatriate.
His speech however helped him little in regaining his gravitas after his fatal press conference a week ago. Due to his reticent nature he has held only three public conferences in the last nine years. But, the conference of Manmohan Singh not only belittled himself, but left the Congress supporters and sympathisers in a condemnable stage. Most importantly, the press conference left many question unanswered, rather than putting an end to speculations. He was supposed to give his farewell speech that he will not go for the third term in the office, even if the UPA government regains its power after 2014 general election, positively expected by our tacit PM, but ended up as self praising.
Our PM became a prolix lecturer telling us more than we wanted to know. The most devastating part was the verbal attack on Narendra Modi, claiming his possibility for the top job as “disastrous” . He, in this conference focused on giving a clean image of himself and his government. He even tabulated the achievements he acquired along with his government and listed the ongoing works, but, the harsh comment on his opponent and a possible PM candidate Narendra Modi has put him in the category of those where, we can see him similar to those people who indulge in such unwanted comments. According to him it would be “disastrous” if Narendra Modi became the Prime minister. While throwing the stinging comment on Narendra Modi, he didn’t show any concern about his graceful, mannered image before commenting in such a horrible, uncharacterised manner and above all undignified for a PM who is above political lines. He brought the matter of Gujarat riots 2002 in his discussion and professed that people will not be generous when it came to voting.
He also stated that many of the corruption cases and issues of graft committed under the UPA 1 from 2004-09 has been forgiven by the voters and that’s why his coalition was elected for the second time in 2009. However he forgot the same citizens in Gujarat forgave Narendra Modi for his alleged role in the 2002 pogrom and re elected him. Such a contradictory statement belittled the image of a man of few words, which he will carry till the next general election and perhaps even ahead.
On one hand Manmohan Singh defended himself and his government even though it is clear by now that the UPA government is not able to tackle any problem properly may it be of graft or governance. On the other hand he passed harsh comment on Narendra Modi and criticized him, by commenting on Gujarat riots, even when Narendra Modi is free from the blame and has proved himself as an effective leader and a mass representative. At this stage where the UPA in general and Congress in particular is on a trembling platform, after the Indian citizen has clearly rejected them in the four recently held state elections, this unwanted comment increased his problems. The serious problems that are affecting the country were shifted aside. He admitted that the price rise is a factor but neutralized the matter by telling that the income level of people has also increased these days. The snail’s pace of the growth in country is due to some international and some domestic factors. He stated Inflation to be not as important as it is being created. Problems like education, health, sanitation, water connection, were ignored always and shown minimal action in improving these sectors by UPA. The real state of India is always ignored. The welfare schemes started and controlled by National Advisory Council is led by Sonia Gandhi, not by the Government of India.
Manmohan Singh is always seen as a puppet of UPA government but, instead of creating a self image he created a chaos and affected his image badly and made his party’s way to the general election 2014 a troublesome and hectic dream to be fulfilled. Unfortunately, his latest address to Diaspora will do little to regain his status, which is marked by incompetent and ineffective governance. His proclamation of open, transparent, accountable and clean governance is a mere lie, where cases of graft and misgovernance have been the only highlights. Certainly, if history has to judge Manmohan Singh, he will come out as a man who went from bad to worst and as a non-effective leader.