When Manmohan Singh moves the one-line confidence motion on July 21st, the Indian Parliament will be finally voting for the Nuclear Deal, thanks to the Left parties. But after disregarding and devaluing the Parliament on the nuclear deal for almost a year now, Manmohan has finally created value. One Lok Sabha MP in India is currently selling at 25-30 Crore per various media reports.
Willard: ” They told me that you had gone totally insane and that your methods were unsound.”
Kurtz: “Are my methods unsound?”
Willard: ” I don’t see any method at all, sir.”
From Coppola’s Apocalypse Now
Manmohan Singh is an honourable man and for the time being I’m assuming the Nuclear Deal is good for the country. There is no questioning his credentials as a technocrat, nor has he given reasons to doubt his patriotism. He was never a mass leader, but then he never pretended to be one even after becoming Prime Minister. Manmohan was never disloyal to the Gandhi family despite having to share his legacy with the UPA Chairperson. He is secretive, then as I’d read, callosity from being in the beurocracy for decades doesn’t melt away so soon.
Manmohan Singh knows well that when history appraises him, his legacy will be closely knit to how well economic reforms fared in India. It might be this pressure that makes him overboard to convince the corporates. There is a decade old joke that Foreign Investors come to India thinking that he is still the Finance Minister. Despite utterances on inclusive growth, Manmohan has mostly been the Corporates’ man talking to the people of India. The Prime Ministers before him were populists talking to the Corporates.
I’m not saying this is bad, it might actually be good for India because people who invest would like to invest in a place, where executive power will not be handled irresponsibly. And Manmohan Singh has created an environment where whoever be the driver, he cannot easily derail the train.
But there is an inherent problem with this. Manmohan Singh was not elected by the people – he is not a Lok Sabha member, nor is he a mass leader with roots in any political movement. He doesn’t act like a leader who can electrify the nation and he knows he cannot be one now.
Hence, he doesn’t need to convince the people of India, nor does he value their mandate. It is logical for a technocrat to conclude that an issue like the Nuclear Deal cannot be understood along with its long term consequences by the people of India – a large chunk who is illiterate and struggling with day to day issues. This could be why Manmohan showed disdain for Parliament.
Do I find his methods unsound? Yes I do. Because I am a citizen. And it makes me a second class citizen.
The United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act was passed by the US Congress (359-68) and the US Senate (85-12). In the same manner, shouldn’t this strategic tie-up be approved by the Indian Parliament? Manmohan could have evaded the Indian Parliament for three reasons,
1. Manmohan was afraid of the Left Parties – This is highly improbable. The vote in the US Houses clearly show that both Republicans and Democrats have voted together. Don’t we need that kind of a consensus in India too, where all national players are aligned on the broad framework and direction of the Foreign and Economic policy? The Left parties cannot hijack a Parliamentary decision – they have only 59 MPs. If the PM had addressed the concerns of the BJP, the Parliament would have endorsed the Deal by a two-thirds majority. Isn’t that how policy is made? And then even if the BJP comes to power in 2009, they will not renege on the pact! Isn’t that what the world community and the US wants?
2. Indians are 2nd Class citizens of the world – The representatives of the American people have to approve the Deal, but not their Indian counterparts. Because the Indian people are 2nd class citizens of the world living in a 3rd rate democracy where highly educated technocrats like Manmohan Singh and Abdul Kalam and Anil Kakodkar take decisions for them. Manmohan is a lame duck Prime Minister in such a hurry to make a deal with a lame duck President of the United States, that too the most unpopular one in history, despite the fact that the probable Democratic incumbent has made it clear that he is Ok with the deal.
In that case, I’ll probably declare myself a Republic and be a first class citizen of the world like Arundhati Roy put it. But before that as an Indian citizen, here’s my one vote against Manmohan’s confidence motion. Nay!
3. Manmohan thought he could get away with it – When Manmohan Singh moves the one-line confidence vote on July 21st, the Indian Parliament will be finally voting for the Nuclear Deal, thanks to the Left parties.
P.S: If Congress ends up battered in the next General Elections, then the Left will have nothing much to do. Another Political winter for the leftist-centrist forces in India. But if the Congress puts up a decent show and the Left comes back with 50 MPs, they could come together again minus Manmohan.
P.P.S: With Manmohan out, Pranab and Arjun cancelling each out and Patil vetoed by the left, it could really be this guy. Good old Mr Clean! 🙂