Date: 06 Jun 2012


Dr Singh, the cunning sleepwalker -\ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ (WEB OWNER: DR. SINGH IS KEEPING THE NATION IGNORANT ABOUT THE MANNER IN WHICH HE AND HIS WHOLE COMMUNITY FLED THEIR HOMES IN PAKISTAN IN 1947.) \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ May 28, 2012 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Citizens reeling under massive inflation are spilling onto the streets in protest, corruption has reached new heights, the economy is no longer robust, trade deficit is alarming, the rupee is tumbling down, there is mounting friction between the Centre and the states, and the United Progressive Alliance is no longer cohesive. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ In short, the country is heading towards a major political and economic crisis, but the prime minister and his coalition are living in a world of their own, assuming that the mandate will willy-nilly last till May 2014. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Notwithstanding the loss of dozens of lives in a rail accident that morning, the UPA tried to rig up a party of sorts on May 22 to ‘celebrate’ its third anniversary. However, given the coalition’s abysmal performance since 2009, the only promise it has lived up to is to produce an annual report card to tom-tom its ‘achievements.’ No wonder, a Congressman who is disgusted with the aimlessness that distinguishes UPA-II described it as a government headed by a somnambulist! The prime minister, he said, is sleepwalking through his second term and neither the Congress nor its allies are in any mood to shake him out of his stupor or to effect change. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ While it is certainly true that the government has done some good work here and there, there is no gainsaying the fact that it has completely lost the perception battle. For example, the report card quotes the prime minister as saying that there can be rapid progress ‘only if we curb corruption in public life.’ He loftily declares: ‘I believe this is the right time to move decisively in this direction.’ Please remember that this is the same prime minister who asked British authorities to defreeze the bank account of Ottavio Quattrocchi, the Italian businessman and friend of the Nehru-Gandhis, so that the latter could clean out $7.3 million that he received from Bofors. Thereafter, the CBI was asked to withdraw the case against him. This is also the same prime minister who dragged his feet over prosecuting A Raja and a host of others in the 2G and several other scams. Given this report card, can there be anything more silly than his claim that this is the time ‘to move decisively’ against corruption? Is this the Manmohan Singh we knew in 1991-92? \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is equally brazen. The report card quotes her as saying: ‘We will take the issue of corruption head on and demonstrate, through actions, and not words, that we mean what we say.’ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\Similar dishonesty is apparent with regard to the government’s commitment to fight terrorism. The prime minister says: ‘No civilised society can tolerate or endorse loss of innocent lives in the pursuit of any ideology.’ If this be so, why is the government dragging its feet on executing the death sentence awarded by courts to terrorists who attacked Mumbai and Parliament? Ajmal Kasab, the only 26/11 terrorist to be caught alive, is still fed and clothed at public cost in a high-security prison. Similarly, the government persists with its kid gloves treatment vis-a-vis the man who conspired to launch a terrorist attack on Parliament. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Finally, the government carries on a dialogue with Pakistan, as if nothing has happened. Given these facts, Singh’s assertion sounds puerile and vacuous. Only the most devious can manufacture such meaningless prose that is wholly unrelated to their conduct in office. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Yet another issue is Centre-State relations, which home minister P Chidambaram has damaged to the point that it is almost beyond repair. His arrogant stance has provoked several states into challenging the Centre’s proposal for a National Counter Terrorism Centre, which is so critical to internal security. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ But, our prime minister is unmoved. The report card talks of several social welfare measures, but we need to remind ourselves that some of the most novel schemes like the Mid-Day Meals Scheme for school children, the Janani Suraksha Yojana for expectant mothers and the health insurance scheme for the poor, was thought of by states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh decades ago. The UPA government has appropriated these schemes, without due acknowledgement to those who introduced it first, in a bid to show itself to be concerned about the plight of the poor and also innovative. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Given these facts, would it be wrong if we were to conclude that there is a touch of cunning to the actions of the somnambulist during his waking hours? \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ The writer is a senior fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation ==================================================== 000000000