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The Tragedy of a Prime Minister
|by Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee|
Being A ‘Magnificent Cipher’ in India
Can you guess whom I am talking about in this article? He occupies the same position as the King under the British Constitution. He would be a titular head, a mere figurehead in the executive pyramid and he would not exercise real power. He is ‘magnificent cipher’. He is never a functionary who can assert himself even at least on certain occasions.
No, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Dr. K.M Munshi and Alladi Krishnaswami have said all these about the post of President in India. But now everyone in India has started applying these words about the post of the Prime Minister. This is the tragedy of being Dr. Manmohan Singh. A Prime Minister has become a magnificent cipher and he has virtually nothing to do against any scam or scum.
Dr. Singh has long been lauded for his pivotal role in liberalising the Indian economy. But bygone are those days. His image is now one of a "dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat” presiding over a deeply corrupt government. The Time magazine has now started calling him ‘an underachiever’. UK daily The Independent has been critical of him and called him ‘silent Prime Minister’. The Washington Post has critiqued Dr. Singh's performance as India's Prime Minister and called him a ‘tragic figure’.
The Prime Minister has failed to carry the mass with him. The recent placing of the SC & ST Bill for Promotion in government jobs shows that the UPA Chief roused from passivity to over activity. It reminds us of Indira Gandhi who seemed to have a dentist’s policy of solving the insoluble problems. There was a dentist who used to extract a new tooth to make the patient oblivious of the existing pain in a tooth beside it.
Here also the new scam is more shameful and painful than the old one. The old scam overrides the new in its dimension and perspective of corruption. We just start criticizing the government for not taking action for one,and a newer one surfaces so that the older one is forgotten. Public memory is short and the government is taking advantage of that.
Recently another bill has been tabled to allow reservation in promotions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government jobs. BJP accuses the government of using this bill to divert attention from its demand that the Prime Minister resign on the coal allocation issue. The BJP is not opposed to the bill but is wary of being seen as helping the government. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said that his party will not give up its demand for the cancellation of the allocations of 142 coal blocks which it says is at the root of the "coal-gate" scam.
In spite of the triumph of the parliamentary system, the King in England can, at least in certain circumstances, assert himself by virtue of his residuary powers. Even the President of India is in a much stronger position. Conventions have not yet crystallised in order to circumscribe his authority. Furthermore, India’s constitutional history is quite different. The Constitution has granted him certain crucial powers which, if properly used, can even make him a potentate. In the time of hung parliament, the President can prove his power and so on. But our present Prime Minister is hell bent on remaining passive and silent at all costs.
|More by : Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee|
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09/07/2012 01:56 AM
09/06/2012 19:03 PM
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