Atanu Dey On India's Development

Pratap Bhanu Mehta Hauls MMS & SG Over the Coals for a Well-deserved Roasting

| 13 Comments

We pretty much know how despicable Dr Manmohan Singh is. I struggle inexpertly to express my contempt for him on these pages. The contempt I feel for him arises from the certain knowledge that much of what the hundreds of millions of poor & middle-class Indians suffer (and will continue to suffer) can be laid at his door.

There are many seriously talented and knowledgeable people who also recognize that truth and are able to write about it in the newspapers. These people should be read by all voters. Should be but are evidently not. Evidently because had voters been paying attention, then Ms Antonia Maino, aka Sonia Gandhi, would have been a minor footnote in India’s modern history. And India would never ever had as despicably dishonest man as the appointed prime minister as Dr Singh.

Actually, Dr Singh’s main qualification for being the appointed prime minister appears to be his ability to listen to orders to shield his boss and the boss’s family from public scrutiny. It’s his questionable moral character that made him suitable for that post. The story is the same as with the president Ms Pratibha Patil. She too has sufficient skeletons in the cupboard that she can be easily manipulated by those who appointed her.

Anyhow, getting back to brilliant writers who tell it like it is. Read Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president of the Centre for Policy Research, Delhi in today’s Indian Express. His column is titled, “He Said, She Said.” Don’t mind the disastrous formatting of the column. I read it very slowly to savor every well-crafted sentence.

I would have quoted the whole column but for copyright limitations. So here are some excerpts, for the record.

The responses of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to the extraordinary crisis generated by the 2G scam are exhibiting a brazen indifference to our predicament. . .

In their responses, they have not missed a trick. But they have missed the point. . .

It has to be said at this point that, with all due respect, “Prime Minister, you are central to governance: you constitute the governance deficit.” . . .

Can there be any greater denigration of the office when the prime minister does not appear to be in charge of government? . . .

But the leader of the ruling party does not have the luxury of an academic discourse on corruption. The shrinking moral universe is not a fact of nature; it is a consequence of decisions taken by leaders. . .

Did the prime minister and the cabinet endorse Raja’s actions? If they did, what was the rationale? If they did not, what did they do for two years to curb actions that they knew to be wrong? Answering these questions does not require an inquiry. It will take the prime minister no more than 10 minutes to set the record straight on these questions. The Congress is asking us to look into the depths because it does not want to look us in the eye. . .

. . . the simple fact is that the prime minister’s demeanour has consistently undermined the authority of Parliament. . .

The Congress president also made reference to the fact that her government does not want to “undermine established institutions, such as the PAC and the CBI”. There is something deeply disconcerting about this for two reasons. Why does a JPC undermine existing institutions? At the very least it does not do it any more than new institutions like the National Advisory Council undermine line ministries. . .

The references to the CBI are also disconcerting. It is time to ask the government what steps it has taken to restore the credibility of the CBI in the eyes of the public. There is not even a glimmer of acknowledgement that citizens are deeply worried about the CBI. There is not even the slightest concession to the fact that almost every single institution in government now carries an odour of conspiracy. Our law enforcement institutions are beginning to resemble an indiscriminate melange of arbitrary powers, randomly exercised. . .

The appeal to the CBI would be more credible if the government had spent the last few years restoring probity to the functioning of these institutions. It is often said that a measure of corruption is not just the exchange of money. It is the distance and dissimulation rulers exhibit in relation to their own governments. On that measure we have indeed reached a low point. The fourth element in this rhetorical strategy is to hide behind the poor — or worse still, allow other Congress leaders to flirt with the communal card. The Congress leadership has to get over the idea that just because it has promulgated a few schemes for the poor, it can be absolved of the larger structural crisis they have produced in the economy. . . What pro-poor policy can explain that it has become nearly impossible to be an honest businessman in this country? The Congress president is insulting the country by implicitly suggesting that the sense of moral crisis and betrayal large numbers of citizens feel is entirely a product of opposition politics. . .

As for the prime minister: his worst failing may not be corruption, it may not even be standing idly by. His worst failing will be that by not coming clean he has undermined any reason to trust so-called good men.

Go read it all.

  • Sid

    Do not bank so much on Mehta. The guy can do somersault as the opportunity dictates. Consider this:
    http://www.newsweek.com/2009/05/30/the-quiet-revolutionary.html
    I quote:

    “This is Rahul Gandhi’s moment,” says Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president of the Center for Policy Research, a New Delhi think tank. “He rose above the narrow identity politics of his opponents and showed that Indians long for inclusiveness and tolerance. He has changed the rules of politics.”

  • Sumant Rawat

    Mr.Dey there is no shame in acknowledging ones moral superiors.In a country ranked in the bottom quartile for corruption by Transparency International its not surprising that corruption can exist at the top.One could fault mild and softspoken Manmohan Singh for not raising his voice.But for Gods sake appreciate the phenomenal job the Congress party has done compared to the Hindutva and the sad Socialist crowd.

    • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

      Mr Rawat, you write,

      But for Gods sake appreciate the phenomenal job the Congress party has done compared to the Hindutva and the sad Socialist crowd.

      I would love to appreciate the “phenomenal job” — please feel free to point it out to me and others who read this blog. I offer you a guest post detailing the phenomenal job. And when you do, I promise to be appropriately appreciative for God’s sake. Deal?

      Atanu

  • Pushkar

    Atanu!Thanks for writing down exactly what we feel!

  • Jiggs

    “But for Gods sake appreciate the phenomenal job the Congress party has done compared to the Hindutva and the sad Socialist crowd”

    Such people baffle me, what has Congress done since 2004?

    1. Added 5.5 crore people to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) and then we hear about CONGRESS PARTY’S INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT.

    2. Seventy plus terror strikes and only 2 cases solved out of which one (Kasab) is by sheer luck and we hear Congress is very tough on terror.

    3. Just recently, the Chief Statistician of India, admitted that he FUDGED numbers to show higher growth rates for IIP.

    4. Everybody in the Congress Party displays open contempt for the people of India.

    I want all of you to read this superb piece by Ashok Mallik in the Hindustan Times, just see how Congress Party has given a lease of life to terrorists who are in jail

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/Modi-operandi/Article1-638428.aspx

  • HS

    Dear Mr Rawat,

    Atanu’s deal sounds really exciting for a champion of Congress’s cause. I am sure you will rise to the occasion and not only accept this challenge but also show why India must move away from being a democracy to a dictatorship ruled by the Gandhis (The ones who have done no wrong, EVER.)

    People like Atanu must be shown the true and noble side of the family of the Mahatma …Oh wait…the current Gandhis are not related to the Mahatma? Please pardon my ignorance for I am just an average citizen who believes the Gandhis are the only Royal Blood in India and trace their roots right back to Shri Ram and even Manu. But then you must not feel offended by my ignorance for it is this very trait which is the magic mantra of the Congress Party winning elections time and again, isn’t it?

    I am certain that you will not fail to point out how Shri Nehru’s decision to adopt the socialist philosophy was taken in the very spirit in which a King decides to throw some alms at a poor beggar in his kingdom. One surely cannot blame NehruG (not a typo …nowadays the G in CAPS earns as much respect as its poor cousin “ji”) for the path the country strayed to during the crucial 50s-60s for his intentions were noble to begin with and it was the miserable middle-class that never really understood his policies.

    I am also sure that you will point out how the Iron Lady of India brought about a ‘Paradigm’ change in the way politicians operate in this country. She infact, was the one who taught the Indian politicians how to grab and retain power. No doubt the years of Emergency are the golden years in India’s history.

    And how can you not draw our attention to the invaluable contributions made to India by Smt. SoniaG, Shri RahulG, Smt PriyankaG and also the country’s Son-in-Law, Shri RobertG. Infact all of them should already have received Bharat Ratna for their lifelong dedication (obsession with?) to India.

    Poor Atanu has been misled and so I request you to pardon his ignorance and enlighten him with the great deeds that the Gandhi Party, oops…sorry, the Congress Party has done for this country.

    Keenly awaiting your response.

    A Dedicated Congress Supporter

  • Oldtimer

    Rawat is insinuating that he and Congress party are not part of the sad socialist crowd. :)

  • Santosh

    Dear Suman Rawat, What do you mean by “Hindutva and the sad Socialist crowd”? Hindutva is different from religious zealots, so please do some homework about Hindutva and then talk about it.If you are talking about Gujarat and Bihar then these two states are currently are setting an example of how a state can be.

    I guess if you dig into the vicious ideology of so called “secularism” of Cong I and sister parties the only thing you will find is power/money hunger, corruption, rut etc.. and who is at the receiving end? The common man of India who has been dying dying dying…

    DMK talks about Dalit cause and Karunanidhi supported Raja (Specturm King) using Dalit card but as we know Raja duped poor Dalits of their land in his hometown. They do not do what they preach it is just a pretext for feudalism.

  • Suhit Anantula

    Atanu.

    I use Readability bookmarklet (http://lab.arc90.com/experiments/readability/) to make it easy to read Indian newspapers and long articles.

    Suhit

    • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

      Suhit,

      I am a big user of Readability. I had posted about it in March.

  • HS

    Mr Rawat,

    Where have you disapeared sire? I was so looking forward to your response. Especially after the wikileaks expose today which show how the Prince has redefined secularism.

    You must be a proud man today Mr Rawat. Your leader has spoken and the world now knows. Surely the Congress will get a clear majority in the next general elections….in Pakistan.

    If you still have a pro Congress argument then I am most keen to hear it.

    Regards,

    A Disappointed Congress Supporter

  • MangoMan

    Congress actually has done good job for the country – for three to four years maybe. The PM responsible for that was PVNR (actually best ever Indian PM till date) who has been unceremoniously forgotten and trashed by the current Gs and their courtiers.

    If the current PM or any G just acknowledges in front the nation that the liberalization 1.0 of 90s was a brainchild of PVNR, I’m ready offer my family’s vote to congress for the rest of my life.

  • MJ

    “…our national ethos in which rules matter less than relationships, and family ties take precedence over impersonalised codes of conduct.”

    http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/jugglebandhi/entry/family-business