India: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh vs “Prince” Rahul Gandhi?
Rahul Gandhi, the vice-president of India’s ruling Congress party, dropped a bombshell on Friday when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was set to enjoy his usual bonhomie with the US President Barack Obama in Washington DC. Rahul Gandhi’s vicious attack on the government caused political tremors and confusion. His powerful mother Sonia Gandhi heads the Congress party, and was instrumental in putting Manmohan Singh on the Prime Minister’s throne eight years ago. In popular media/public perception, Manmohan Singh generally does what Sonia Gandhi wants him to do.
So the media/public was taken by surprise when Rahul Gandhi angrily exclaimed at the Press Club of India, New Delhi: “Now, I will tell you what is my opinion on the ordinance. It is complete nonsense, it should be torn up and thrown away.” (For details pl click here…)
The Indian public, the media, and the cyber space is agog with speculation. Is it going to be Rahul Gandhi vs Manmohan Singh. Or, son Rahul Gandhi vs mother Sonia Gandhi? Or, none of the two, but a face-saving measure in view of the possible objections raised by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, regarding the ordinance. There is a possibility that the President of India might return the ordinance for reconsideration to the government. This would have given the Opposition, (including the BJP) a chance to claim a moral victory (although in a tacit manner the Opposition had earlier supported the ordinance because almost all the political parties have tainted elected members with ongoing cases in the courts. (Pl see here…)
Interestingly, the Congress party president Sonia Gandhi was privy to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent controversial ordinance that seeks to overturn the Supreme Court of India’s decision disqualifying convicted lawmakers from contesting elections. The ordinance awaits the President of India’s approval. (See here…) and (Here…)
However, it is clear that the entire nation is alarmed at the criminalization of politics in India in the past decade ever since the Manmohan Singh-led Congress-coalition government came to power. The public is angry with the government, as also the political class, because of the mind-boggling financial scandals that rocked the government at a regular interval, and the mild response of the Opposition parties. The corruption has become a major topic of discussions in India, and it is likely to play an important role in the next general elections due in 2014. The finger of suspicion in many cases points directly towards the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), as nearly all cases/proposals were cleared at the highest level. (Click here for details…) … (And here)…
Although India is a Parliamentary form of government, the PMO has come to acquire extraordinary powers after the late Indira Gandhi’s tenure as the prime minister, especially during/after the Emergency.
Although corruption has been a major issue in India, the recent spat between the Supreme Court and the Manmohan Singh government over the criminalization of politics, has alarmed the nation. A recent survey shows that among the lawmakers in India, there are 1,460 criminal members of Parliament (MPs) and the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in the states. (See here… … About 30 per cent of the MPs and MLAs are involved in criminal cases, of which 14 per cent are serious ones. (And here…)
Whatever be the reason behind the outburst of Rahul Gandhi against the Manmohan Singh government, it is clear that this dramatic development has brought Rahul Gandhi back into the limelight. In recent times, the media had been focussing more on Narendra Modi, the present Chief Minister of Gujarat state, who has been declared as the Prime Ministerial candidate by India’s leading Opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party.
What does the US think about Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi? My older post here gives a clue. Pl click here…
Also, the documents released by Wikileaks reveal that the US administration does not like the youthful crowd led by Rahul Gandhi. (See here…)
Thinking people in India are surprised and shocked that the Obama administration continues to support the most corrupt and inefficient government in India. Many think that it is a puppet government installed by the Americans. Here’s the Brookings report… … See here to know about cash for votes case in the Indian Parliament…