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India needs a Prime Minister

Pranab Mukherjee

Courtesy Sulekha dot com

The title of this post might surprise some, while come across as unsurprising to many, but standing at the crossroads of another year end, there is no denying the fact that India needs more than just a figurative head. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has failed to inspire citizens with leadership and has reduced the post of executive head of the nation to ceremonial face which appears on hoardings and government advertisements.

Question naturally arises who should lead the government then? Which politician in current Indian political situation possesses the caliber to lead India towards prosperity? Is it India’s “crown Prince” Rahul Gandhi? Or Madam Sonia Gandhi? Or someone else?

Rahul Gandhi is too immature to take up the mantle as grave as the Prime Ministerial berth. He could, rather, make his way up starting with running a state (eg U.P.). That could well be an apprenticeship which can mold him for future responsibilities.

His mother and chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance is also better kept away from the PM’s office. Although it is an open secret that calls the shots in matters of national policy, but her ascent to the “chair” will spell trouble for the nation. The Party and The Government better be kept separate institutions and she can look after the party affairs.

India’s hunt for a Prime Minister ends with a very senior parliamentarian and also a senior minister of the present government. Pranab Mukherjee, in all fairness is the acting Prime Minister of UPA 2.

According to this article published in The Times Of India, Pranab Mukherjee is part of 34 Group of Ministers (GoM) heading 15 of them. He was most recently made head of the Joint Drafting Committee of the Lokpal Bill. Pranab Mukherjee is the Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha. On more than one occasions, this senior parliamentarian has emerged as the crisis manager for the UPA. His equations with various political outfits (across the colour spectrum) is known to be relatively better than his party colleagues. He has the distinction of holding ministries ranging from Defence to Finance, External Affairs, Revenue, Shipping, Transport, Communication, Economic Affairs, Commerce and Industry.

Rumours say, Pranab Mukherjee was a strong contender for the Prime Ministerial berth in the early 1980s. When Indira Gandhi was assassinated, a section of the Congress projected him as the Prime Minister in waiting. But given its sycophantic nature, the Congress fell back to the first family of Indian politics. The altercations were such that Pranab Mukherjee was forced to quit the party he had served for decades. Although he returned back to the fold of Congress soon, the “mistrust” seems yet to be healed.

Coronating Manmohan Singh to the high chair in 2004 was a political masterstroke by Sonia Gandhi in the wake of massive protests by BJP. But repeating the same in 2009 looks like an unpardonable mistake. Although Mr Singh is learning his lessons in politics, can India afford to bear the brunt of his tuition? Is it not more judicious to hand over the reigns to someone who is already in charge? After all that can boost the party’s electoral fortunes in 2014!

Unless history seeks to repeat itself, opportunity knocks at Congress’s door to undo the sin it committed in 1984. Pranab Mukherjee, with his political experience and leadership skills, can take India to echelons of glory.

An open letter to the Prime Minister of India

[I had a blog Aagan Says previously. But in a moment of emotional foolery i deleted the blog without taking backup, and posts between May-August were lost. I am going to REPOST those again. Today i post an article i had written in July two days ahead of the scheduled “cabinet reshuffle”].

Respected Sir/Madam

I add both sir/madam in my salutation since I am confused whom to address – the octogenarian at 7 Racecourse Road or the inhabitant of 10 Janpath Road. However, I find it convenient to refer to both, since any matter of importance that is being raised before one, will inevitably be placed before the other.

Sir, I had been to a rally where you had addressed the public. Yes sir, you had spoken. It must be a tedious task for you since you prefer the anonymity of the PMO, yes sir, we know, Mr P Chidambaram had told us that it is your personality trait. But sir, I must tell you, you make a very good speaker and whenever you address the media, do it with a conviction that restores the wavering trust in the institution you represent. And I fathom reaching out to the people will embolden their confidence in the office you hold.

Ah, we can save that for the later, for now I have some important matters to press upon, sir, with your due permission. The major problem facing India currently is the governance deficit that is not just palpable but hitting us hard on the face. On several issues, the authority that you command seems to be losing steam sir. Do you not deem it fit to not just be in command but also assert your presence at the helm? (Well I am sorry if I in any way offend Madam, because we all know she calls the shots and this plea of assertion might not go down well with her, but isn’t that how our democracy should function?)

Secondly sir, the cabinet that you head is increasingly becoming a safe haven for thugs. We all agree you are a noble man and no one doubts your integrity sir, but don’t you think your credibility is being dented every other day when some minister is embroiled in some controversy? It is also no secret that for several months, many key ministries have been lying orphan waiting for a full time minister-in-charge. The cabinet “reshuffle” that is the talk of the town now, has been long pending since time immemorial. But you (or for that matter Madam) had not been able to make any choicest changes to the pack of jokers (strictly in terms of cards sir) yet!

I know you are not inept, but the void created by your inaction on several fronts have been misused by many, Sir. Take Digvijay Singh for example. Your silence can only be balanced by the volumes of absurdity he speaks on air every waking moment (or maybe he even sleep-talks). Some newspapers even claim he has prime ministerial ambitions! You must beware of such men sir! Especially so because they are close to the heir apparent (no offense madam, but being the Prime Minister, he must be responsible for the credibility of the government, No?)

The south Delhi civil societies are no better, sir. They have simply hijacked the space vacated by you and have become self confessed messiahs of the country. And guess what, the media (not the paid one) has sold itself out to them, and are planning to take over governance in India (through the proposition of Lokpal of course). I still wonder why your ministers even bothered to pay them any heed. But I welcome your stand on the inclusion of the PM in the ambit of Lokpal. But don’t you feel sir, it would dilute the institution (although, under you, or rather Madam, I daresay, there isn’t much left of the institution).

Courtesy Toonpool

It seems the contents of the letter could be bugging you (oh I mean not the bugs that were lately found in the Finance Ministry, sir). And I have almost reached the end, sir.

I wish to bring to your notice, sir, that India is a rich country with really poor citizens. And you are their leader – the face of the nation. It is your choice whether you want to poorly represent the rich or enrich the poverty stricken nation.

Thank you,

Agnivo

(Just another citizen of this nation)

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