At the end, corruption has taken its toll : the Rail Minister, Mr. Pavan Kumar Bansal, caught in the tsunami of naked corruption, is reported to have resigned. That is really not the news. The impending resignation of the Law Minister, Mr. Aswani Kumar, who has abused his position to protect the guilty in the Coalgate scam (essentially the Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh and/or the PMO) is also no news. The news really is that the two factions in the Congress Establishment are publicly taking a confrontationist position. I had posted on the whispersinthecorridors.com several months ago the existence of these two factions, referring to them as the historic Naram Dal and the Garam Dal of the Congress Party. While Ms Sonia Gandhi was leading the Garam Dal or the Hot Faction, Dr. Man Mohan Singh was leading the Naram Dal or the soft faction. It was in the context of the Prime Minister lacking leadership qualities or being a weak Prime Minister. My view has been that the impression Dr Man Mohan Singh was giving of being a weak Prime Minister was a shrewd attempt on his part to mask his true personality and that he would show his real leadership at the appropriate time. Meanwhile he was busy investing intelligently in expanding his base in the party and across the parties of the UPA or the United Progressive Alliance. There was never any progressivism about such a disparate combination which was cobbled out for personal gains of the leaders of some political parties to continue their acts of omissions and commissions in putting their hands in the gravy train and gain as much as possible in as short a time frame as possible. They succeeded in doing that admirably and the country experienced some scams of historic proportions such as the Commonwealth Games Scam, 2G Spectrum Allocation Scam, Adarsh Housing Scam, Coal Block Allocation Scam nicknamed Coalgate and the latest Railgate Scam. Interestingly, Dr Man Mohan Singh, in the true tradition of leaders like Indira Gandhi, chose to the party and the government. On the constructive side, he was busy carving out a niche for himself in the name of economic development or reforms, which are hollow platitudes in the face of ubiquitous corruption. The average Indian has suffered the worst economic regime that has inflicted untold miseries of rising prices, inflation and loss of employment. The attempts to fool the people by promising cheap food grains is a grandiose plan for self service by creating a situation of perpetual source of income by mining of poverty by the powerful, privileged and the rich. Dr Man Mohan Singh employed a clever system of governance to achieve his goals by creating two governments within the government, even as it was a violation of the oath of “upholding the constitution”, which he had taken while entering the office of the Prime Minister
The Government of India is organised in to Ministries, which are allocated business under the rules. The political leadership of the Congress Party claimed that Ms Sonia Gandhi, made the supreme sacrifice by declining to become the Prime Minister of India in May 2004! Nothing could be farther from truth: it was after calculating everything that Ms Sonia Gandhi withdrew from laying any claims of forming the government. The incumbent President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, has stated sometimes ago that he never objected to Sonia becoming the PM but she never approached him. A diffident Sonia and her supporters could do nothing better than making a virtue of an impossibility by calling it a sacrifice. But she was not prepared to give up exercising power. So, a new stratagem was invented, the National Advisory Council (NAC) was created and she was made its Chairperson with the rank of a Cabinet Minister. It was a sort of Council of Ministers under Sonia Gandhi. Its expenditure has hardly ever been discussed in the parliament as it forms a part of the budget of some other ministry. No parliament questions have been asked on the NAC nor any Annual Report presented to the Parliament. The Constitution of India does not provide for any such entity. Still the NAC has worked as a super Cabinet, drafting legislation, policy and giving directions to the government in the name of suggestions. The functions of the ministries have been overtaken by the NAC. The ministries know the power of the NAC, the ministers know they are answerable to the NAC more than the parliament or the people and the PM knows it is better to avoid any confrontation. Concerned citizens and scholars term it as an Extra-Constitutional Authority. Ms Sonia Gandhi controls the party and tries to run the government in this manner of “collective” leadership. Dr Man Mohan Singh was made Prime Minister only to keep the seat warm for Rahul Gandhi until such time he was mature enough to take over as the Prime Minister of India. While Sonia and the party were happy in the reverie during the UPA-I, under the illusion that Dr Singh would politely vacate the seat to facilitate the coronation of Rahul Gandhi when the time arrived, he, in fact, had other plans. He resorted to ruling by the Committee System, rendering the ministries even further redundant. He has created hundreds of Committees for all kinds of functions of the government of India. In the process, he has appointed hundreds of experts as members and chairpersons of these committees, who owed their loyalty to him and not Sonia Gandhi. Putting the economics rhetoric to best use and employing soft power, Dr MM Singh has created another government within the government to match the authority of the NAC Chairperson. The UPA-II has boosted his confidence greatly and he has started asserting himself in his own way. That was bound to create friction with the NAC. The PM succeeded in creating his own loyalists within the cabinet such as P. Chidambaram, Aswani Kumar and others. There are many bonding factors for the emergence of this group, which has been moving intelligently in a soft manner. The PM’s group has planned to exercise extra patience till the elections in 2014 so that they manage to form the government without any difficulty. The party leaders were indiscreet enough to make public statements that they were happy with the PM under whose leadership they would go to elections in 2014. They were still under the impression that it was the same Man Mohan Singh of 2004 who would vacate the seat the moment asked to do so. Their illusion was cleared when Dr MM Singh gave loud and clear indication of running for the third term as Prime Minister! The political leadership took serious note of it and devoted itself to a cool analysis of the intentions and plans behind it. Prompt came the reactions condemning the arrangement of two centres of power, the council of ministers headed by the PM and the Party or the NAC headed by Sonia Gandhi. The party was waiting for the right opportunity to intervene decisively. The time has arrived just now.
What the Congress Party and the Sonia Gandhi family have been waiting for has finally arrived: Karnataka has delivered a grand electoral victory for the party and in the tradition of the Congress the credit has been given to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. The success of the Congress in Karnataka in winning a clear majority has stalled Rahul Gandhi immediately as the Youth Leader of the Congress, who can win elections for the Congress Party. It will be encashed in the Hindi belt, which accounts for the majority of seats in the parliament and decides the Prime Minister. In other states too it is going to influence the elections. The Congress Party is mature enough not to expose Rahul Gandhi to unnecessary hazards till elections and to protect him from Opposition attacks. It seems the party had already made adequate plans in advance to replace Dr MM Singh in case he chose to ever defy the party leadership. The significance of the Coalgate lies here. While the PM was busy maintaining dossiers on his ministers and adversaries, he dropped guard in forgetting that he himself was being subjected to similar treatment. The Coal Block Allocation scam is a big scam that took place during the period when Man Mohan Singh was the coal minister. The CAG (Comptroller & Auditor General of India) has assessed a loss of revenue to the tune of rupees 1,86,000 crores. The Times of India had placed it at 10,57,000 crores. Others add a few more zero to it. Kapil Sibbal, Manish Tiwari and other ministers trash the CAG and have spoken infra dig to the high constitutional status of the CAG. But that could not stop the citizens from seeking the intervention of the Court. The Supreme Court of India had directed the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to investigate the matter and place before it a status report in the matter. The Court had given specific directions to the CBI not to share its findings and report with anybody including the political Executive. The CBI did investigate the matter, but shared the report with the Law Minister, Attorney General of India, Additional Solicitor General of India, two Joint Secretaries of India from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Coal Ministry. The status report was substantially changed by these people. When the court asked if the report was shared with anybody, it was told a blatant lie that the report was not shared with anybody. The Court was not convinced and ordered the Director, CBI, to file an affidavit. In the affidavit the fact of sharing the report and making substantial changes in the report were admitted. The Court did not take kindly to the violation of its orders and changes made in the report. The Opposition was quick to demand the resignation or removal of the law minister, which was resisted by the Prime Minister. As the Law Minister had no personal interest in the game, it was seen as an attempt to save the Prime Minister himself and the PMO. The Opposition has asked for the resignation of the Prime Minister, Dr Man Mohan Singh.
The political developments of today the 10th May 2013 are significant. The Rail Minister has been caught in a corruption case and the Law Minister in the legal vortex. The Congress Party can ill afford to suffer damages due to these two ministers. Moreover, it doesn’t want such a Godsend opportunity to slip away. Dr Man Mohan Singh has been resisting the Opposition demand for the resignation or removal of these two ministers. Sonia Gandhi has asked for their resignation. The two factions are at war. Sonia Gandhi drove up to 7 RCR, the Prime Minister’s official residence and asked the PM to secure the resignations from these two ministers. Within minutes of this meeting, TV channels were abuzz with the resignation of the Rail Minister, though even after 5 hours there is no official confirmation. The perception about who is corrupt or shielding the corrupt is a topic of debate today. The Council of Ministers is going to be shuffled before 22 May.
The point is: is it going to be a reshuffle only or a restructuring of the council of ministers with a new person becoming the Prime Minister? If the Coalgate costs the PM his chair, the new PM will be installed. There is great significance in May. Rahul will revive the memories of his father, Rajiv Gandhi. He is young and free from taint of corruption. He has proved his leadership in the Karnataka victory. He is bound to carry more weight in the Hindi speaking states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand on the strength of the Karnataka success. He would naturally have influence in Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. He has toured Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha and Gujarat. If a change of guard comes or is forced now, Rahul Gandhi gets the best opportunity of getting the top position. If he misses it now, he shall get it never. If Man Mohan Singh survives this attack, he shall become PM again, either as a compulsion of the Congress Party or even as the consensus candidate of the Third Front that his supporters have been quietly encouraging. Power is so intoxicating that nobody wants to voluntarily give it up. And when it is the position of the Prime Minister of India, the incumbent shall employ every skill to protect his position. The confrontation between the Naram Dal & the Garam Dal is out in the open now. It is bound to aggravate in the coming days. It will be worth watching if the Naram Dal finds something as damaging as the Coalgate to rein in the Garam Dal. Whatever happens in the next 12 days will determine if Dr. Man Mohan Singh remains the Prime Minister or Rahul Gandhi replaces him as the Prime Minister of India. As on today, the chances of Rahul Gandhi becoming the Prime Minister of India are very bright!