It doesn’t require the world to point out that Manmohan Singh is a puppet Prime Minister! The question actually is, who is the “real” Prime Minister? Unlike the perception of many, I don’t believe that Sonia Gandhi is or was the “real” Prime Minister. It was Pranab Mukherjee, the man who was virtually running the entire show of running the nation, while Sonia managed Manmohan and a large part of party politics. Can you believe it that out of a list of 40 plus EGoMs (Empowered Group of Ministers), Pranab Mukherjee was heading almost a whopping 66%? Yes, that’s the truth; Pranab Mukherjee was not just Congress’ crisis man, but also the man running the government and its intricacies. No wonder then that Congress was so nervous about announcing his candidature. And had it perhaps not been for the Mamata jolt, Congress might have still tried to think about alternatives! Now that the man – who should have been Prime Minister in place of Rajiv Gandhi long back, and definitely in place of his junior Manmohan Singh and at least the acting PM when Manmohan was hospitalized some time back – has been given his due, what happens to the government? Already, there are uproars and sarcasms over Chidambaram heading the spectrum EGoM (which, of course, Sharad Pawar didn’t even have the courage to take up). It’s actually not so much about who will head which EGoM, but more about a sudden realization of where are the leaders in Congress?
The death of mass leaders in Congress started from the times of Indira Gandhi when the inner party democracy – that at one point elected Lal Bahadur Shastri as the PM – gave way to dynastic politics. Indira, at least herself, became a mass leader; but by the time Rajiv became the Prime Minister purely on sympathy, the mass leaders started finishing off. The last of the mass leaders in the Congress under Sonia – Sharad Pawar – left Congress; and YSR, the one and only mass leader left, met an unfortunate end too. So now, what the Congress is left with, from Sonia to Manmohan to Chidambaram to Rahul, are all well-planned and planted leaders from here and there instead of leaders with a mass base. The real politician – though again without a semblance of a mass base – Pranab Mukherjee, through his sheer number of years, is now in the President’s chair, and with the number of times he has been betrayed, not necessarily the Congress plant many are assuming him to be. With a mind of his own and wounds unhealed, he can turn anybody’s way when it really matters!
- 27 July 2012 |
- Arindam on Indian Politics