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The Fictional Prime Minister

Who is this man?

Vir Sanghvi has written a most interesting column in the Hindustan Times the gist of which is that Dr Manmohan Singh is his own man,

Even now, the PMO works completely independently of the party and is protected by the Prime Minister from all kinds of political interference. Senior Congressmen fret and fume. They complain that the Principal Secretary lacks the competence of, say, Brajesh Mishra. They regard the current Principal Secretary as a pompous ass and a lightweight. They bitch about the PMO’s lack of political savvy. But none of these criticisms makes the slightest difference. Manmohan Singh always stands by his people.[link]

It is not interesting for the fairly take Mr Sanghvi spins: While there is little doubt that the Indo-US nuclear deal was the prime minister’s finest hour, Dr Singh’s independence (or lack there of) from the apron strings of 10 Janpanth should be obvious to any follower of Indian politics.

But ignore that for a moment. What Mr Sanghvi is essentially arguing that the successes and the failures of the government are essentially PMO’s and by extension, Dr Singh’s. So if M.K Narayan is still the National Security Advisor after partying the night away at the time of Mumbai terror attacks (Technically, till only 11..00 p.m), then it is Dr Singh’s choice.

With Dr Singh still in AIIMS with no less than five grafts which raises real concerns over his ability to return to full time politics especially considering his age, and Sonia Gandhi’s well-known distrust of Pranab Mukherjee, the stage, it appears, is being prepared for coronation.It helps of course that the crown price can start with a clean slate.

It is not to argue that the Congress High Command–Sonia Gandhi– plans to project Rahul Gandhi as the prime minister during elections. But following the Prakash Singh Badal and Karunanidhi model where aging leaders are preparing to ”relinquish” power to their sons, a Rahul Gandhi coronation in the middle of UPA government’s next term seems likely.

For that, the government, of course, has to win the elections in April. But the larger message is clear. It is time.

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