Whatever Happened to Mr. Clean India PM?
People are recalling an old adage—where there is smoke, there is fire, to now taint India’s technocrat politician Mr. Mammohan Singh. For the second day in succession, India’s opposition demanded the Prime Minister’s resignation after the national auditor's report charged the government with scam in allocation of coal mines.
After the auditor Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) revealed "undue benefit" of $33.4 billion to private firms in allocation of coal mines, both lower and upper houses of Indian Parliament witnessed chaotic scenes with opposition lawmakers targeting ruling Congress. India's opposition is now threatening to block all parliamentary proceedings until the prime minister resigns.
Demanding Singh’s resignation, a senior opposition leader Arun Jaitley stated, "The way forward is that the prime minister must accept his culpability. The reason is very obvious. For five out of the eight years (analysed by the auditor)... he himself was the coal minister.”
India's auditor suggested the government lost billions of dollars by failing to auction valuable coal mining rights in a report that has brought the issue of alleged corruption back to the forefront.
In the era of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian politicians were of different breed, they would be in politics to serve people. Neither money making, nor power grabbing was their aspiration; they lived and died for their principles. A long line of dedicated individuals such as Lal Bahadur Shastri, Morarji Desai etc. continued that tradition, but then Indira Gandhi came in and things started changing. Indira considered herself to have the legitimate right on Indian throne, and she established the Gandhi dynasty (no relation with Mahatma Gandhi).
Now India’s political power emanates from the house of Indira Gandhi’s descendants—Manmohan Singh is just a figure head, to fill the position in the interim. Sonia Gandhi’s son is being groomed as the next Prime Minister. In his first term Singh was known as "Mr. Clean", but in the second term he has been damaged by a string of scandals.
In 2010, there was a scandal of under-pricing of mobile phone licenses that cost the treasury up to $39 billion. The government initially rejected the claim, but later the telecom minister of the time, A Raja and some other officials were put on trial. It is sad that Singh, who is not a career politician, and is a man of distinction, would be drawn into such controversy. Indeed it is a sad time in Bapu Gandhi's own homeland.