Manmohan’s Interview With TV News Editors

Everyone in India seems to be talking of Manmohan Singh’s interview with major Indian TV news channels plus international ones like Al Jazeera, BBC, CNN. From all comments on various blogs I gathered that many ordinary folk seem to be disappointed with what he had to say. I watched it online and quite frankly, was impressed. Remembering he is in a coalition government and is therefore beholden to other parties, I think he is a wonderfully stabling influence. His economic policies since Narasimha Rao’s days under whom he was finance minister, have helped more Indians prosper than any other person’s. His background, and therefore his strength, is finance.
Where corruption is concerned, I agree that he is weak, making excuses for not taking people in power to task, sometimes, even rewarding them with promotions. Every TV editor asked him what he was doing re corruption of some person in power or the other and his answers never said he’d be able to recover the lost revenues or make that person accountable by asking him or her to resign. To know someone is corrupt and not insisting on making that person accountable makes Manmohan as guilty as if he committed the crime himself. His answers were, to my mind, a bit helpless except when he declared that after the budget session (not now, but sometime in the future) there would be a reshuffle of his entire cabinet.
But here’s the problem – Manmohan’s policy on corruption might be weak but everyone is agreed he isn’t corrupt himself. His economic policies since he was finance minister during Narasimha Rao’s PMship, have helped more Indians prosper than any other person’s. There are other politicians who are corrupt, who use strong arm tactics to subdue Indians who question them; who are communal by nature – which means they aren’t concerned about the well being of all Indians except the ones who belong to their own community and whose economic policies have never been as strong as Manmohan’s.
Summing up
So many comments I’ve read indicate that the Indian public isn’t impressed with Rahul Gandhi – the PM in waiting! Secular Indians definitely don’t want a communal minded party (only our community and damn the others) to come to power. Everyone is agreed Manmohan is honest, astute and has sound economic policies. Those are the sum of his leadership skills. He is weak on corruption and I’m really not sure what he plans to do about terrorism, inflation and the environment. He blames the Congress coalition partners for compromises he has to make and for having to overlook corruption. The public is wary. Nobody believes him.
What can we do to change the situation? Do we solely depend on our news reporters to bring things out into the open or can we, the public, do something? And if so, what, that would be effective? Can we keep showing Manmohan that we are not going to let up our pressure on corrupt individuals in politics till he is forced to take action and not just mouth platitudes – that it is the public he is more accountable to rather than his coalition partners and his party members?
Do we have any other options besides waiting for a candidate who will open up the economy like Manmohan has, is more honest than he is and perhaps stronger than him when dealing with corruption in his own party or in the coalition, and last, but not least, someone who deals strongly with terrorists and the environment?
Yes we do. We can protest in unity; make our presence felt. The key word is UNITY. It shouldn’t be that as soon as there are threats to someone’s life, property and loved ones, the rest of us quietly move away. It takes time, effort, a united action plan and leadership skills to build such unity. India Against Corruption have all of the above and are worth a visit. They aren’t a political party but their leaders are ordinary people who’ve dedicated their lives to making corrupt people in power accountable.
The link to the interview with Manmohan was provided by Patrick French: