17 April, 2021

Where's The Man?

Where's The Man?
Goodwill is a mysterious commodity. It is gathered at leisure and spent in haste. Dr Manmohan Singh, it would be fair to say, begins with a huge advantage and tons of goodwill. As the Congress was getting ready to form a regime and as Sonia was placing the crown of thorns on Manmohan’s head, a senior BJP leader known for candid self-assessment confessed to me: "We’ve just shot ourselves in the foot by forcing Sonia out and now we have to deal with a man whom the Indian middle-class respects and reveres. How do we attack such a man?" He was posing a shrewd question and as the days and weeks have rolled, Dr Singh has further consolidated his "clean man" persona. Stories about his honesty, humility, integrity, ability, simplicity emerge with regularity not through spin doctors or a vast publicity machine but from ordinary folk who have interacted with him. That he is an honest man who will run an honest prime minister’s office is not in doubt. There is no foster son-in-law, nor is there a scheming uncle-cum-principal secretary hovering in the background. A clean and...

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