Tavleen Singh is no Sonia-baiter. Yet in her regular Sunday column in the Indian Express last week (Sept., 1, 2013), she has in her piece titled “Let’s talk about Sonia” opened her column with the observation:
“Such an ominous sense of bad times and foreboding hangs over political Delhi today that it is hard to remember that Sonia Gandhi took power in a happy, hopeful time 10 years ago….
The dream of prosperity is what Sonia has killed in the decade that she has been India’s de facto prime minister.”
On the same page of this very paper one more columnist Meghnad Desai has made a still more severe comment. He writes:
“Poverty and corruption are the twin pillars of Indian democracy. They are sacrosanct. If thanks to them the economy collapses, tough luck.”
Both in Parliament as well as in the media, the focus of all discussion during last month has mainly been the serious economic crisis that confronts the country. As against the Dollar, the Rupee’s value has been hurtling downwards at a terrifying pace! Repeatedly these days, commentators on the current crisis keep recalling the 1991 crisis, which under P.V. Narsimha Rao forced Government to take an emergency loan of $2.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund by pledging 67 tons of India’s gold reserves as collateral.
Two days back, The Economic Times (August 31) reported: “With all efforts to arrest the rupee’s slide coming to a naught, policymakers now plan to knock on the doors of temples”.
The Tirupathi temple in Andhra, the Shirdi temple in Maharashtra, the Sidhivinayak temple in Mumbai and Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala, which are among the richest in the country in respect of their reserves of gold, are to be approached by the Central Reserve Bank asking them to convert their gold into cash.
Ten senior leaders of the BJP in Parliament, including the Leaders of Opposition in the two Houses, and the National President of the Party met the Rashtrapati on August 30th and presented to him a representation about the current economic crisis in which we said:
“The Government of India, as usual, is in denial. Not satisfied with this it blames everybody else for the current crisis except itself. It blames the opposition, the state governments, the Reserve Bank of India and the global factors. The limit of irresponsibility was however crossed when the Finance Minister blamed his immediate predecessor for the crisis and the Prime Minister kept quiet. Sir, the crisis which afflicts the economy and the country today is primarily a crisis of confidence. We have a government which is unable to take any decision, provide any leadership, or a ray of hope for the future. It is mired in humongous corruption. Even the Supreme Court now suspects that it is trying to destroy evidence by making the incriminating files go missing.
The country can ill-afford at this moment of crisis a government which is paralysed, a Prime Minister who never speaks, a Finance Minister who wrongly blames his immediate predecessor who is unable to defend himself, a supreme leader who does not care about where the money will come from and a bureaucracy which is frozen and unable to act. The Ministers of this government are unbridled and working at cross-purposes. The relationship of the Government of India with the State Governments, specially the non-UPA ruled states and with the opposition parties, is at its nadir. We have come to urge you, therefore, to end the prevailing uncertainty by advising this Government to seek a fresh mandate at the earliest and not later than the state elections due in the next three months.”
September 2, 2013