During 2009-2014, Manmohan Singh presided over a regime that saw scams of all hues and proportions. As a Prime Minister, he didn’t act promptly to stop these scams, and in fact is accused of helping in some cases. What we saw under his tenure is described best by a term he himself coined – organised loot and plunder.
While the loot largely happened during the second term, Manmohan Singh undermined the dignity and constitutionality of the office of the Prime Minister for full ten years where the PMO was reduced to executing orders of NAC under Sonia Gandhi – something that is corroborated by the PMO files.
In his first term (2004-2009), his image was largely blemish free. While there were charges of ‘dual centres of power’ over Sonia Gandhi calling the shots, note that it was cleverly called “dual centres”, as if Manmohan Singh had some power too.
Nevertheless, it can be well argued that UPA came back to power to power in 2009 largely due to personal goodwill of Manmohan Singh. He was seen as a bechara (poor helpless guy) who was not allowed to work by the Left parties and who was unfairly targeted as a ‘weak Prime Minister’ by LK Advani.
But by 2014, except for people living in la la land, Manmohan Singh was no longer a bechara but a besharam (shameless person). The erudition and grace were replaced by avarice and shamelessness.
Manmohan Singh had become a person who brazenly clung on to power, god knows why, despite corruption around him and insults heaped on him, such as Rahul Gandhi tearing the ordinance
Manmohan Singh also knew it. He knew he had become butt of ‘robot’ and ‘puppet’ jokes. All his goodwill was gone. And only he was to be blamed for reducing himself to this. If he didn’t respect himself, others won’t.
His only hope was people who write history. He wished that ‘history will be kinder to him’.
When he placed faith in ‘history’, he actually meant ‘historians’. And journalism is often called ‘the first draft of history’.
Those ‘historians’ had become besotted with Arvind Kejriwal, who looked like a Jawaharlal Nehru of Rahul Gandhi’s age to them, during UPA-2. Many are still besotted, and hope Kejriwal and his party will be the Congress that Sonia and Rahul couldn’t give. Punjab election results will decide which way this love will grow.
But whichever way this love blooms, Manmohan Singh hoped to get sympathy for himself from these ‘historians’. From besharam, he wanted to be bechara again. He wanted history to be re-written.
And this re-writing was attempted in 2015 itself, barely a year after the people of the nation handed over the worst ever defeat to Congress. OpIndia.com spotted this re-writing of history pretty early.
Now there is another attempt to show Manmohan Singh as bechara. Prime Minister Modi likened his tenure as someone who took bath while wearing a raincoat – a metaphor for Manmohan Singh having no corruption charges slapped on him despite being in the middle of a deeply corrupt regime.
The Congress is trying to claim that this is deeply insulting to Manmohan Singh. They are trying to paint him a bechara, poor helpless guy insulted by the powerful.
No, they don’t care for the wish of a non-Gandhi Prime Minister. They hope that in the process, the scams will also be forgotten (because they are not yet sure that the historians will be that helpful to re-write scam as ‘service courage ability modesty’).
You know, it’s like when we remember the days when Sachin Tendulkar used to play, we mostly remember about the great innings he played, and not about how many matches we won in those years. Memories of Sachin hitting a boundary are forever, winning percentages are for boring debates.
Same way, Congress hopes that Manmohan Singh becomes a bechara forever, while the scams under him are rendered boring statistics. This is more than zero-loss theory. Nostalgia over numbers.
Which is why they are making this rather innocuous statement by Narendra Modi a big issue and are hoping that ‘historians’ will be with them.
Will it work? It will, if you allow history to be re-written. It will, if you don’t counter and let them have their way. They will shout, play victim, and they will label you a troll. But in this case, become a besharam, not a bechara.
(originally published on OpIndia.com)