Sunday, July 03, 2011

Manmohan Singh - The Manchurian Candidate

4 months after his disastrous meeting with electronic media editors, which I blogged about, Mr. Manmohan Singh decided to speak again, this time only with print media editors.  After all we are a democracy, unlike North Korea (where Kim Jong II is seen once in few years), so Mr. Singh decided to give darshan and speak to his subjects once in 4 months. And how!

The robotic, stoical Manmohan Singh reminds me of the character Raymond Shaw in Hollywood flick ‘The Manchurian Candidate’. Shaw, a soldier of the US army, also hailing from an affluent political family, is ‘programmed’ with an implanted chip in his body to campaign and become the president of the US. Shaw’s mother, a senator and a multinational company masterminds this operation. We all know how Mr. Singh is planted in as PM to do his Madam’s bidding. For all practical reasons, he is an ‘acting PM’ who did well not to apply his acclaimed mind over the affairs of this country. As in the movie, Mr. Singh is remote-controlled to work and deliver for someone else. But then in the movie, at least towards the end, the remote-controlled candidate realizes the trap he is in and applies his mind for once, bringing to an end the whole operation of a few powerful guys to control US. Unfortunately for us, Mr. Singh seems to be losing more of his mind with each passing once-in-four-months public appearance.

In his last appearance with news editors, Mr.Singh compared the 2G scam losses with ‘losses’ due to food subsidies. This time, Mr. Singh gave use few more gems. This post has his latest opinions, marked in blue. My comments follow. The full Transcript of the meeting is here.

Considering newspaper reports about scams and investigating them would ‘greatly weaken the (entrepreneurial) forces that we have unleashed’ and ‘install a police raj’.
So the 2G scam is unleashed by ‘entrepreneurial forces’! And investigating them would make this country a ‘police state’? Is there no need in this country to at least pretend being honest anymore? Such a blatant stance by the supposedly ‘clean PM’.

He tells us he trusted his cabinet colleague after he assured ‘utmost transparency, fairness and objectivity’ in 2G allocation. Even after this scam, he conveniently forgets there is something called ‘collective responsibility’.

Bringing prime minister within ambit of Lokpal will make the country ‘instable’.
Earlier, talking about TRAI, he said ‘Quite frankly, I felt TRAI exists to advise the government, it is an expert body. And therefore, I left it at that.’ As frankly, why can’t he just trust the Lokpal? His faith in institutions set up by constitution and legislation seems literally blinding. He can use some of that faith for Lokpal. At least 1.2 lakh crores is not at stake here.

Besides, his ‘concern’ that foreign powers would take ‘control’ over Lokpal and destabilize the country is laughable, excuses which even his grandkids won’t buy.

The Prime Minister of India ‘is equally covered by the anti-corruption act’ and that he can be ‘dismissed most easily’.
Oh really! How many corrupt ministers ended up in jail? CBI, the investigative agency is under PMO’s control and Mr.Singh wants us to believe the Prime Minister himself would sanction CBI to investigate against him and his cabinet colleagues! And the CBI is retrained under Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, which requires it to get Central Government’s prior approval before it can start any investigation against Joint Secretary or higher level bureaucrats. Obviously, all scams like 2G are executed with active connivance of these babus – (who Mr.Singh considers experts in policy making). CBI cannot investigate them without PMO’s approval and without access to these executives, Mr. Singh says ‘we have mechanisms, much more effective mechanisms, in place’ than Lokpal to tackle corruption. Who is Mr.Singh kidding?

CAG should not hold press conferences on the reports they tabled and should not comment on policy decisions (even when crores are being swindled as in case of KG gas)
It is this ‘selective amnesia’ we are trying to fight against with Jan Lokpal bill. Madras High Court  in 2005, in the P.G. Narayanan vs. CAG case (W.P.No.23408 of 2004 [2005] RD-TN 714), said salient features of an Audit Report can be explained to the Press by the auditor to make the public know about the same after the Audit Report is placed before the law-making bodies – parliament or assemblies. So Mr. Singh lied when he said CAG is overstepping its mandate. And yes, the CAG must have commented on policy issues because Mr.Singh admits, quite pathetically, at every step that he is not an expert.  In his latest briefing, he said he is neither an expert in law nor ‘telecom matters’. He even said ‘As Prime Minister, it is not that I am very knowledgeable about these matters. Or that I can spend so much of my time, to look after each and every ministry.’ So why complain about a helping hand from CAG!?

How will the Supreme Court pronounce on complex issues, if it is subject to restrictions of the Lokpal? I am not a legal expert.
If ‘pronouncing on complex issues’ means what retired chief justice KG Balakrishnan did, these restrictions are just what we need. According to advocate Prashanth Bhushan, half out of the last 16 to 17 Chief Justices of India had been corrupt and he produced documentary, oral and circumstantial evidence, material and information to back his claims. So why stonewall bringing the judiciary within the ambit of Lokpal?

This 'clean' weak PM worse than a corrupt PM

Mr. Manmohan Singh should instead realize to pronounce his real self rather than singing the lines his political masters are imbibing into him. Notwithstanding his personal integrity, he is doing more damage to the nation than any other PM ever did, by serving as a Trojan horse for the real perpetrators of financial crime and public treachery. We hope Mr.Singh removes the political chip on his back and regain his conscience, just like the presidential hopeful Raymond Shaw did in ‘The Manchurian Candidate’.


R Adarsh said...

Hi Amar,

I accept that MMS would do a better job than Liev Schreiber in the Manchurian Candidate.

Wanted to add another filmi incident.

In the movie, The Sum of All Fears , some rogue generals launch a chemical attack on Chechenya. The Russian President Nemerov, who doesn't know who ordered the launch, goes on national television and owns up the attack. He then tells his advisor in the lift "Its better to appear cruel than to appear without control" .

All over the world , leaders are vying to appear as the "Regular Joe" - Obama attends David Letterman's show, David Cameron attends radio shows and speaks about Twitter ( when he (in)famoulsy said that "Two Tweets make a Twat" ) , Angela's office is on Twitter , Chavez is on Twitter and so on. Contrary to that , Indian political thought still believes that familiarity breeds contempt and borders on invisibility. I think that is true of the entire top leadership of India's oldest political party. The PM has 3 press-conferences in 7 years , Sonia Gandhi gives only carefully orchestrated interviews and Rahul ,after a few gaffes, has gone into a shell. Compare that to the Presidential hoepfuls in the US whose televised debates can help in making better informed desicions. I was reading somewhere that there was a Twitter handle called "Finding Manmohan" which was fairly popular.

The problem is that since he spent the greater part of his life as a bureaucrat he still remains one long after he has ceased to be one.

The only point when he showed spine was about the nuclear deal when he told the communists in the interview to the Telegraph "..if they want to withdraw support, so be it….". He may have lost the communists but he certainly gained a lot of middle class who was looking for a leader. I think a lot of the city-bred , educated , middle-class voted for his party just because of the stand he took. Unfortunately he only flattered to deceive. Blaming the coilation politics for the scams does not cut much ice with the voter. MMS's personal integrity cannot redeem his government. The fury of India was on full display at Hazare's fast.India is angry and wants accountability

Amar said...

That is apt movie scene you recounted, from 'The Sum of All Fears'. I clearly remember that scene and I liked the actor too, who played that role.

Indian leaders are still in Raja Maharaja culture, the feudal mode. In fact, the Shashi Tharoor twitter episodes and his eventual exit showed the discomfort of ruling lot with any effort from the ruling elite towards the general public.

I don't think Mr Singh has much of his choice in handling his public image. He was picked up because he is subservient to the 'high command'. Imagine if the same 'high command' could have handed that post to a political leader who could have won an general election. It would have been difficult to handle such a politician. Mr Manmohan Singh is a trojan horse for the congressmen to deceptively corrupt.

In hindsight, I feel the election over nuclear deal thing was well planned by the Congress High Command and I don't think MMS had a role then either. And the Wikileaks about congressmen showing the money to US consulate men revealed how US backed congress to the hilt for that election, because of their business interests.