26 July, 2021

Act II, The Fall Of Man

An embattled Manmohan Singh fails to give a convincing defence of his government’s actions

Act II, The Fall Of Man

Just in case one was still starry-eyed about the quality of our political leadership, Manmohan Singh’s interaction with TV journalists last week put paid to that hope. At a press conference held at his official residence on 7, Race Course Road, a defensive—and tentative—prime minister told the nation that he was helpless in most matters linked to corruption and had limited authority in coalition politics. For good measure, though, he added: “I am not such a culprit as I am made out to be” and that “the government will bring the wrongdoers to book”.

It was a familiar self-absolving pitch for a politician to make. Just before Manmohan took office and ended up being the longest-serving PM, Atal Behari Vajpayee had successfully positioned himself as the right man in the wrong party. Whenever members of the BJP or larger ideological parivar would create a crisis, Vajpayee would strike a note to suggest he disagreed with what was happening, but alas, what could he do.... It mostly worked for him, given...

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