At a recently held press conference, Manmohan Singh 81, after serving two consecutive terms in office as the prime minister of India, makes way for Rahul Gandhi 43. The soft-spoken Singh, stated,“The new generation of our leaders will also guide this great nation successfully through the uncharted and uncertain waters of global change.”
Gandhi is the vice president of Congress and the son of Sonia, the current president of Congress. Singh was only a regent till Gandhi was ready to be the prime minister. Gandhi is the scion of the Nehru political dynasty; his great grand father Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of independent India; he is the grandson of Indra Gandhi, the first woman prime minister of India ; and the son of Rajeev Gandhi, son of Indra and prime minister of India. According to the tradition of dynastic politics in the Indian sub-continent it was certain that one day he would hold the seat of the prime minister, and according to the recent statement of Singh, the time has come for him to rule India.
In his press conference Singh criticized the BJP prime ministerial nominee, Narendra Modi. Modi has been the chief minister of Gujrat for the past 11 years. He has the reputation of being a business and investor friendly administrator. The Gujrat riots of 2002, are the only blotch on his otherwise clean political record. In these communal riots 1,000 Muslims were brutally killed. Modi has been called, merchant of death and the butcher of Gujrat by his political opponents, especially the Congress.
Singh, an economist had initiated fiscal reforms in India which saw the country achieve phenomenal growth. At present, though, Indian economy is going through a hard phase with rampant unemployment and inflation amidst widespread charges of corruption against the incumbent Congress government.
It was mainly due these factors that Congress was badly defeated in the current state elections in four states of the Indian Union. In the state of Delhi, Gandhi canvassed hard for his party but never-the-less Congress was routed by the Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man’s Party) of Arwind Kejriwal. The Congress loyalists believe after Singh makes way for Gandhi, he, keeping alive the tradition of his family will set everything right in India. The detractors, however have little faith. According to them Gandhi’s entry into politics at this juncture will not make much of a difference. They are of the view that at present Modi is a much better option as the next prime minister of India.
The surprise win of AAP in Delhi has heralded the end of dynastic politics from India but it seems that Congress has not learnt anything from this humiliating defeat. Despite facing humiliating defeats in the state elections Congress is bent upon promoting Gandhi as its next prime ministerial candidate when the family’s popularity is at an all time low. In the view of some political commentators, Priyanka, younger the sister of Gandhi is more popular among the masses than his brother. They believe that if Congress is to continue with its dynastic politics than she is a much better choice to be the next prime minister. Whatever, the outcome of the general elections scheduled to be held in April-May 2014, today’s headline is Singh, the incumbent prime minister makes way for Gandhi.
By Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada