There is a popular joke in the virtual world about our PM’s name — he is often called “Maun-mohan" Singh. So, when the “maun" — or silence — is broken, it ends up creating a loud noise.
That’s what happened in Parliament today when the PM chose to address what has gone wrong with the Indian economy. The Prime Minister’s attempts to set the record straight, ended up in a full blown verbal duel between him and BJP leader Arun Jaitly. Frankly one feels for our PM. He doesn’t come across as a natural powerful communicator. In the past, he has often tried to give it to the opposition in the same coin but hasn’t succeeded.
On Friday though, the PM was giving vent to his pent up frustration, when he said that the Indian Parliament is the only place where there are chants of “ PM chor hai", he was referring to umpteen adjournments that have marred Parliament work over the past couple of years due to corruption allegations. But then Mr PM, what else will the opposition do if you continue to look the other way while your ministers either indulge in inefficiency or loot? When the PM says “ I seek cooperation of Opposition", I am afraid it is coming a little too late in the day.
The PM should have broken his self imposed Maun Vrat at least a year back. By speaking now, by becoming the aggressor, he is only going to complicate things further. Maybe he wants to give his own party a message — that he isn’t done, yet.
If LK Advani reaching the ripe age of 90 years can approach the President and seek immediate polls, by that logic, Manmohan Singh can easily stake claim to becoming the leader of a possible UPA 3.
When the PM says “ Opposition responsible for lowering investor sentiment", he forgets, it’s the government which is responsible for loss of its own credibility. The opposition at best has put “aag mein ghee" — the proverbial, adding fuel to the fire.
My question is why does the PM not speak often?
How is it possible for an entire Parliament session to get over, with the rupee threatening to touch 70 to the dollar, without the PM having spoken? Does it need a vociferous opposition to ensure the PM addresses us? On Thursday night, I was bewildered to see a smiling Rahul Gandhi come out of Parliament after the passage of the Land bill but treat the media as if it was just so unnecessary to take any questions.
All that Rahul G had to say was “I am happy" — a statement made while he was walking towards his car. Sonia Gandhi has spoken just once, I think, in this Lok Sabha. What this shows is that the troika of Rahul G, Sonia G and Manmohan Singh have converted their silence into their virtue. Which is why everytime they speak, they end up doing making headlines.
Moral of the story: Start speaking frequently. Maybe your stars will change.