23 November, 2020

The Gentle Art Of Statecraft

Political savvy may not be seen as Manmohan Singh's forte, but read his speeches, you see a political man

AP File
The Gentle Art Of Statecraft
Though oratory has never been his forte, Dr Manmohan Singh’s addresses within and outside Parliament can seldom be faulted for lacking in substance. This second volume of his selected speeches, delivered from mid-2005 to mid-2006, is revealing in this regard. The prime minister always endeavours to draw on his scholarship, administrative acumen and political savvy to focus attention on what makes India tick or falter, and on what needs to be done to ensure its resurgence as a key player on the international stage.

The mention of political savvy is bound to raise eyebrows, especially in sections of his own party. They tend to dismiss him as little more than a highly competent bureaucrat, a Johnny-come-lately, unfamiliar with the rough and tumble of electoral politics, and uninterested in the messy business of acquiring, retaining and expanding power. But reading through this volume offers another, altogether different picture.

Whether he speaks at a governors’ conference, at a conclave of corporate leaders, at a Knowledge Commission...



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