Manmohan Evades Real Problem

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has held his much awaited press conference. What he conveyed was that he will not quit despite the criticism leveled against him; that there have been shortcomings in governance which need to be rectified; that there has been corruption which is being probed; that despite the slow progress due to following correct legal procedure the guilty will not escape; and that the admitted shortcomings in the performance of his government may be traced to the compulsions of coalition politics that sometimes necessitate compromises. 
An extra-constitutional centre of power exists that is more powerful than the PM. Such diarchy of power renders confused and self-contradictory governance.

Unless power is accompanied by accountability the democratic process does not work.   
In other words it is business as usual. The biggest systemic flaw of the UPA government was ignored by the PM and his questioners alike. The government cannot credibly blame only coalition partners for the corruption or the compromises that have slowed down the efforts to nail it.

The Commonwealth Games scam does not relate to coalition partners. It involves questionable decisions by Congress leaders. It was Congress Political Secretary who met Hassan Ali. The progress of investigation in these scams has been even more dilatory than it is in the other scams. A PM need not be as inhibited in dealing with coalition partners as the present incumbent is. The heart of the problem lies elsewhere. Unless it is addressed the performance of the UPA government will continue to flounder. 
The problem is the systemic flaw under which this government functions. An extra-constitutional centre of power exists that is more powerful than the Prime Minister. Such diarchy of power renders confused and self-contradictory governance. The relationship between the government and the party organization in any democratic system works well because the lines of responsibility are clearly demarcated. The party is responsible for adhering to its agenda and to the government performing within the parameters set by it. The government is solely responsible for executing policy within those parameters. This arrangement does not obtain within the UPA setup.
Mrs Sonia Gandhi is not only the President of the Congress Party; she is not only the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council specially established against precedent to advise the government on all policy; she is also the head of a dynasty that is so powerful within the party that she could single-handedly appoint the Prime Minister before ascertaining the views of the party. And she achieved that because Dr Manmohan Singh accepted the post of PM in these humiliating and undemocratic circumstances. As a result the entire Congress Party membership as well as its UPA coalition partners is aware where real power resides.

It is Mrs Gandhi who is approached for approval of all key decisions while the PM remains a passive stander by. The PM seems content to aspire for a global Indian role while he remains marginalized as a nonentity in all matters of governance. Because of this monumental compromise that allowed him to become PM he is accountable for decisions not made by him. Because of the enormous power wielded by Mrs Gandh she can exercise power for which she is not answerable.

This arrangement is unnatural, undemocratic and unworkable.

Either Sonia Gandhi should become PM, or Dr Manmohan Singh must behave as a PM should. Either the PM must call the shots or Sonia Gandhi must face the heat. Unless power is accompanied by accountability the democratic process does not work. The present patchwork arrangement is tattered beyond repair. It has to be discarded. Otherwise the drift will continue. The debate will continue. And the decline will continue. That is the bald truth Congress leaders must recognize.    


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

Top | Analysis

Views: 3364      Comments: 4

Comment The same system with the same people and drawbacks is being effectively used in Bihar and Gujarat. Therefore, you either wallow in self pity and claim that the systems and methods are alien... or you use them and modify them to suit you and create a system as you progress.
In management jargon, a really busy office implies commerce and profit, which gives you very little time to organize and streamline processes and systems. On the other hand, by the time you have systems in place the commerce is already slowing down.
India is swamped with commerce: only people like E. Sreedharan can manage it and visualize improvements in advance.
20% of the staff (including bureaucrats and politicians) will do 80% of the work.
20% of the staff will take 80% of the decisions.
Also, 20% of the staff will cause 80% of the problems.
People like Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar, E. Sreedharan, Arun Shourie etc GET THE JOB DONE. The rest wallow.

17-Feb-2011 22:26 PM

Comment In continuation of my previous comment let me quote the relevant portion of the essay The story of the Raiyat - 'First let the throne be in place, the crown be made, the scepter be brought in and Manchester be pauperized - only then we shall find the time to attend to the problems of the raiyats. In other words, politics will come first and the people of the country would come later. This is the reason why, like a tailor making a dress, we are busy fashioning the form of our polity. It is very easy because we do not need any living creature to take the measurements. What we have to do is only to send to the tailor a ready made sample borrowed from abroad where the people of those countries made their dress after a lot of experiments keeping in view their physique and their climate. We know the name of the dress - it has been crammed right from the pages of learned treatises - because in our factories the name of the product comes long before it is actually produced. They are democracy, parliament, the constitutions of Canada, Australia, South Africa etc, all of which we can imagine with our eyes closed - because we do not have to take the trouble to take measurements from a living human being.'

kumud biswas
17-Feb-2011 04:35 AM

Comment We imported democracy, it did not develop historically or evolve naturally in our society. There is no point in blaming these politicians - the Indians themselves are to blame. Being ruled by autocratic rulers for centuries we have become accustomed to be ruled - we are completely incapable of ruling ourselves. In these 60-odd years after independence we have not been able to ensure development of healthy democratic institutions. Who but Nehru himself set up this dynasty? Please read Rabindranath's essay - the Story of the Raiyat (Rayater katha) in my translation published in boloji long ago.

kumud biswas
17-Feb-2011 04:14 AM

Comment In his "interview", Madmohan came across as pathetic, old and helpless....which is actually the case.
Subramaniam Swami's earlier letters to the President in 2004 have established that Sonia cannot become the PM because she has not relinquished her Italian citizenship. Her "stepping down" was because of this pressure.
Further, D.Swami's letters in public have established that the CWG and spectrum monies have been paid to Rahul and Sonia's sisters, respectively.
That means that aside from the power centre, the real corruption centre is also this wretched Italian import.
The huge funds entering India without respite for Xtian/ conversion activities, also the increasing clout and emboldened posturing and clout of the Xtists is directly due to Sonia's influence.
If anything, this criminal party will cling to power and fight tooth and nail to stay put.
If ,after all the public information, the criminal Kkkangress cannot be pulled down, Indian democracy and the role of the opposition is in severe doubt.

16-Feb-2011 21:37 PM

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