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The public life of Dr. Manmohan Singh, the former Indian Prime Minister, can be divided into three segments namely his pre-Prime Minister days, Prime Minister days and post Prime Minister days.
Pre Prime Minister days
Dr. Singh held many respectable positions in prestigious bodies like International Monetary fund, Governor of Reserve Bank of India, etc. At that time, people did not know much about him, and many thought that he was one amongst many officials.
When Mr. Narasimha Rao became the Prime Minister of India at a critical time when the country was facing a severe financial crisis, he spotted Dr. Singh and appointed him as the Finance Minister. This decision of Mr. Rao caused huge surprise and even misgivings in some quarters, as Dr. Singh until then had no real exposure to politics and political governance.
However, strongly backed, supported and guided by Mr. Rao and with his knowledge base, Dr. Manmohan Singh was credited for taking the country out of the financial crisis and initiating the reforms. Gracefully, Mr. Rao allowed Dr. Singh to enjoy all the glory for himself. Obviously, that was the best of time in Dr. Manmohan Singh’s public life until then and later.
Prime Minister days
To the surprise of everyone, Dr. Singh was chosen as the Prime Minister candidate by Ms. Sonia Gandhi, when she could not herself get the job in spite of her strong desire.
During the ten years of his Prime Ministership, Dr. Singh was gradually losing the shine which was accelerated during his second five-year term, and he practically lost all shine when he completed ten years as Prime Minister.
The countrymen felt that Dr. Singh was only a Yes Man as Prime Minister acting at the behest of the Congress President who took him for granted for all practical purposes. Her son Mr. Rahul Gandhi virtually insulted Dr. Singh on several occasions, and this renowned economist pocketed all the insults.
Several of his ministers were corrupt, and obviously, Dr. Singh knew that, but he felt weak and helpless in controlling them, which virtually brought Dr. Singh to ridicule as Prime Minister of India.
Even his pledged admirers were surprised when he gave an impression of the countrymen that he would like to get a third term as the Prime Minister.
Post-Prime Minister days
After laying down his office as Prime Minister, it was thought by many that Dr. Singh would gain back his glory as a renowned economist by taking an independent stand on various issues.
However, the discerning observers were surprised when Dr. Singh continued to walk behind Ms. Sonia Gandhi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi and to belittle himself in the process. The Congress party does not need him now, and obviously, nobody takes him seriously in the party anymore. He is being used by the party in the way it wants, with Dr. Singh merely submitting himself to the beck and call.
When Dr. Singh spoke very severely in the parliament against demonetization, it caused considerable surprise, as he was known as the mild-mannered person who could not control his corrupt ministers when he was the Prime Minister. The language he used in the parliament to condemn the demonetization step of Modi government was not in good taste and certainly not expected from Dr. Singh that the country knows of. Some even suspected that he was reading the script given by his party leader.
Why not give his wisdom to the countrymen?
All said and done; there is no doubt that Dr. Singh is a knowledgeable and experienced economist of global standing. Politics is not his cup of tea anymore, and he is wasting his precious time now when he has the opportunity to regain his original shine as an economic expert, that he enjoyed before becoming the Prime Minister of India.
Today, Modi government is implementing far-reaching economic reforms and restructuring of several systems prevailing for decades. There are severe critics as well as admirers for Modi government’s policies and programmes.
It appears that both the critics and the admirers have preconceived political leanings and priorities. The countrymen are now looking for an independent view from experts, who can rise above personal prejudices and give their honest views.
Today, more than anyone else, Dr. Singh has all the credentials and expertise to express his views and provide guidance and shape the thought process of the country.
It is high time that Dr. Singh should quit politics and speak as an independent person not anymore walk behind political leaders, who do not in anyway measure up to him regarding knowledge and expertise.
If Dr. Singh were to do this, perhaps, even Modi government will seek his counsel, and the debate on economic reforms in the country will be led in the right direction.
Of course, by quitting politics and giving his valued views on various issues in an impartial manner with the expertise that, no doubt, Dr. Singh possesses, he will undo the damage to his reputation that he brought on himself as Prime Minister and the history will remember him for his pre and the post Prime Minister days.