PRABHATESH@BHOPAL. Where is Dr Manmohan Singh in the general elections of 2019. The two-term prime minister, fondly known as PM of Indian middle class, a statesman is nowhere to be seen in the election arena where Congress party is not opnely projecting its president Rahul Gandhi as the PM candidate. A day ago, when the Bharatiya Janata Party released the first list of Lok Sabha candidates the name of BJP patriarch LK Advani was missing from the list. BJP president Amit Shah has been fielded from Gujarat’s Gandhi Nagar. Till now Advani represents the Lok Sabha constituency.
Congress leaders came out marching with opposition on Advani not being given a Lok Sabha ticket. Their senior leader Randeep Singh Surjewala in a tweet accused the BJP of snatching away the parliamentary seat of Advani and it is a disrespect of the senior party leader. 91-year-old Advani, original proponent of Hindutva is yet to say it out on the decision of the his party but the Congress too is not vocal for Dr Manmohan Singh in whom it gave the country its first Sikh prime minister.
86-year-old Singh is missing from the election arena and there is no official word from the party whether he is going to contest the Lok Sabha elections. Some media reports have suggested that Singh is not keen to contest the elections citing health reasons, although these reports too only are affirmed by sources.
What happened Dr Singh in his tenure drove the economy with intricate policies so that most of us can remain happy with significant increase in per-capita income, rural employment guarantee and many other schemes. But what happened to such a pragmatic, modest and intellectual leader that he has been side lined by the grand old party. Advani has been facing the same fate since PM Modi came to powernbut the Karyakarta driven structure of the did not allow neither Modi nor Advani to confront on governance.
One of my former editors once told me a term Profit Booking. A word commonly used in share trading industry seems to be fitting here. Profit booking means when the investors liquidate their holdings to cash out the profit created so far. But the term has a hidden pivot, where the execution time of it should be chosen very carefully cause a hurry and delay both end up ugly. Here both the leaders could not choose the execution time of profit booking. Singh like Advani is victim of coming in King way. Singh was becoming a hero an acceptable figure that could have directly or indirectly challenged the brand Rahul Gandhi in future and no good ruler wants a hero that may cross his/her charisma.
A fallen grace The Punjab Congress wants Singh to contest from Amritsar but a confirmation is yet to be made when the elections are two weeks away. Not widely known as a public speaker and crowd puller Singh is known for his virtue of patience even after almost being called complete nonsense by then party vice president Rahul Gandhi in 2013. It is not like that Singh has completely vanished away from politics but the presence is not adamant as that of Rahul or Priyanka Gandhi.
This slow withering of a world-famous politician and economist in India’s oldest party raises a question whether his silent but brilliant performance under huge pressure from then Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi led to this. The poor and urban poor for which the policies of Singh were mostly focused upon folded the game of UPA in 2014 after the campaign of Anna Hazare demanding Lok Pal against corruption in the Union, a phenomenon that had become a performance indicator of UPA-II regime.
Congress veteran Natwar Singh in his book One life is not enough and media advisor of Manmohan Singh in his book the accidental prime minister has detailed about how the dynasty politics in the Congress and the leadership crisis constantly kept meddling with the governance of a democratic country with highest electors. But the ignominious way in which the sun is setting for him is far-fetched strategy of his very own party. A former prime minister is no small politician. Congress is most likely to work out a Rajya Sabha seat for him.
As of now he represents the upper house from Assam but the term will end on June 14. Assam once again is not possible cause of low strength in the assembly. In July Tamilnadu will have six seats to Rajya Sabha but the DMK alliance will have its share. In another scene another way to the house could be from Punjab where one of three members will have to resign.
Rise of Gandhi scion The Congress party specially the political dynasty did not have familiar terms with their prime minster and it was only functions and official meetings where greetings were exchanged, Sanjay Baru had revealed in his book. Scion of the Gandhi family is waging against prime minister Narendra Modi who has maintained image of mass leader that has good connections in foreign countries. In the election battle Modi has been able to present out the works done by his government but what Congress is bringing to the fight is the real question.
Congress, whose underbelly was exposed after Anna Hazare movement is finding hard to convince the voters on one issue that voters should vote for them. It has started to line up manifesto promises and failure of Modi government on Rafale deal and NPA’s. But all of them ended up as spurts. Dr Singh could have helped the Congress party in regaining the confidence of Aam Aadmi with his experience and expertise. Congress has been forced to work on the right-wing politics of which the BJP is master.
The temple run of Congress and Gaushalas in Madhya Pradesh and now the Ganga Yatra of Priyanka Gandhi are glaring example of the same. Holy river Ganga follows long stretch of the voters living on its banks and Priyanka Gandhi the female face of Gandhi family has targeted the same. Rahul Gandhi may have been escalating inside the party slowly and steadily but the strongest link could end up being the weakest because it is the facing the maximum pressure. The party has not yet projected Rahul or any other leader as PM face and convincing the voters is a challenge ahead for the young prince.