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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 1 New Delhi December 26, 2015

Unbecoming of a leader as Prime Minister

Saturday 26 December 2015

by M.C. Pindwal

The recent statement of the former Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to the Centreal Bureau of Investigation, the premier investigation agency of the Central Government, that he had many other issues to worry about when he was holding additional charge of the Coal Ministry, is aimed at blaming the then Coal Secretary, P.C. Parekh, for failing to brief him properly. This is not tenable as the file speaks volumes in this regard; therein it was suggested to sell the coal mines through public tender and do away with the first-come, first-serve principle which had many lacunae to cause national loss while selling the nation’s public assets in an improper manner which was being done till then. The executive discretions were misused while filling the coffers of the then ruling party since nearly 80 per cent of the funds came from dubious sources of donations which have remained unexplained till now despite public hue and cry in this regard and the directions to the political parties to furnish such details as demanded by RTI activists. The matter is pending before the Supreme Court of India as the Chief Information Commissioner has been found ineffective to deliver which is a sad reflection on the system as most of the political parties are unwilling to comply with the direction of the Chief Central Information Commissioner.

The former Prime Minister is seeking to be excused as he is not able to recollect the reasons for allocating the coal mines while the funds against such allocation were deflected mostly to the party coffers, whereas the ex-CM of Jharkhand, Madhu Koda, an accused, has sought his trial as an additional accused, in allocation of mines to his party MPs’ group, known as the Jindal Group led by Naveen Jindal, MP.

The former Prime Minister could have overruled the contents of the letter written by Parekh, the Coal Secretary, as it was not binding on him being the supreme executive authority whereas his own decision was not in national interest keeping the loss of revenue from the sale of mines as he would have easily prevailed while executing the national policy on the natural resources of the country to the benefit of the public through the national exchequer instead of benefiting the individuals at the cost of the nation.

Thus, we find that Dr Singh fully failed to lead the nation whereas his party loyalty emerged more superior even by common sense. This proves Dr Singh had no vision of a leader who is supposed to lead in such matters. What kind of honesty was this that failed the nation? Sadly a similar plea is taken in the NHRM case before the CBI by the ex-Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh too. All such acts of our leaders fail us in our future plans; thus, they are unbecoming of leaders as they are not capable of leading. Whereas they should be leading lights of India but due to lack of vision it is India that has suffered a lot. Before the Parliament election 2014, it was a policy paralysis in developing the secular state of India but now it is a daily dialysis of the re-emerging vibrant, intolerant and tyrant in the name of beef and belief. The supreme leader, the PM, should now guide the nation by setting an example.

The PM should guide the nation by offering suggestions against false promises by the political leadership of the country that spread hatred and communal violence in society and at times provoked religious tensions as well.

The author, a retired IRS officer, has a degree in journalism as well.