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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 Rahul Gandhi

Dear Rahul Jee,

Courtesy Outlook

I wish to use this opportunity to wish you a very happy birthday, albeit belated. I hope God gives you the stamina to tide over what they wittily call the midlife crisis. I am sure you are yet to face the crises in your life, given that you are still in the learning process.

I must confess I was once smitten by your charisma. The aura you exuded was a cherry on the chocolate cake that your persona exemplifies. Your experimentation with various styles of facial hair, with or without the glasses that adorn your face, out maneuver several other politicians in the fray. It makes me wonder how you maintain your charm despite all the padyatras and dharnas in the dusty hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh. (I would eagerly wait to hear about personality management from you, in near future).

Of late, this fan of yours has had to go through heartbreak of sorts, and I daresay I do not blame you for that. Variety spices up life they say, and I hold it true as the gospel. But you seem to be steadfast focused on battling Mayawati. India exists outside the deprived villages of Bundelkhand, you know. Farmers are handed a rough treatment in other states of India too, they die of hunger and commit suicide ridden by debt in an overwhelming part of the “other India”. Yes, I learnt that term from you. Thank you, I too firmly believe there are two India’s. There is one India that draws your attention and the other which does not.

You know Sir, I belong from West Bengal. I am sure you have heard of this state. You had visited Jalpaiguri and Malda in April, remember? I am not sure you have heard of Singur. Have you? Yeah, I guessed so. The news of farmers’ land being usurped by state government for private use by corporates surely did not reach your ears, because the state government was your ally at Center back then. I do not blame you. You are surrounded by sycophants, it is but natural that news is filtered before it reaches you. I am sure you were busy visiting Dalit homes in Uttar Pradesh, when Shivraj Patil blamed villagers for the police firing in Nandigram, on the floor of the Lok Sabha. I know your hands were tied by coalition dharma.

I was amazed that none of the Youth Congress brigade thought it wise to even block a road after Tapasi Malik’s rape and murder in Singur. Didn’t they go on a rampage during election of state youth congress president a few months back? Tch Tch. My bad, how is a busy leader supposed to keep note of all that is happening across the nation? That is why I refuse to mention Jaitapur and Vidarbha like the hindu sanghi trolls do.

I have also heard that you are in favour of creating a separate Bundelkhand carved out of Uttar Pradesh. I am all for it. Smaller states mean better administration and decentralization of power. But sir, then would we not have to create so many other states – Jangalmahal, Kamtapur, Bodoland, Greater Coochbehar, Gorkhaland, and not forget Telengana? Sorry to have brought up the T word, but I was wondering, do we support creation of Telengana? Yeah, I know it is a very sensitive subject and better left to the GoM to brainstorm. No issues.

I was glad to hear you say Mayawati’s government is run by dalals. Finally someone had the conviction to call a spade a spade. By the way, did you hear about Commonwealth Games scam or the Adarsh Building scam? No? Ok. We can save that chat for some other time. Sir, are you aware of the dalal mafia in Indian Railways? You surely travel by the trains, don’t you? I did catch a glimpse of you on a train in Bombay, a year back. You were there promoting a film by Shahraukh Khan. You were there protesting against communalist forces taking Mumbai hostage to parochial politics!

I am sure you are aware that there has been a change of regime in Bengal. Your mother had extended congratulatory messages to Mamata Banerjee. They are jolly good friends. Like sisters. I am sure you also know that Mamata has made legislation to return land to farmers in Singur, similar law to return land in Rajarhat is going to be placed soon. A new land policy is also on the anvil. I was really happy to know, your government in the Center will soon table a new land bill (since when have we been hearing this, Sir?). Better late than never.

Recently, Bengal was caught unawares in a devastating natural calamity. Earthquake in three districts of Bengal could not bring you here. Neither have we heard your concern for crib deaths in Kolkata hospitals. I was wondering why. Of course you must be busy fighting elephants to safeguard the rights of beggars, aren’t you Sir?

I realize that I have taken up a lot of time from your precious schedule. I will conclude it here and now. And why just Bengal? There are several states in “the other India” who would like to tell you similar stories.

Yours truly,

An Indian from the “Other” India.

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