The prime minister asked whether anybody in any part of the world has ever heard about MPs shouting at the former calling him a thief. He said both the government and the Opposition should join hands in consensus-building. He said the Parliament should act responsibly to convince foreigners that India is still a viable destination for investment.
The prime minister also hit back at the Opposition over the missing coal allocation files, saying it is not his duty to take custody of the files. The same argument was given by one of his ministers a few days ago.
The moral high ground that the prime minister is taking today won't work for the government has lost its credibility
The moral high ground that the prime minister is taking today, trying to project the sanctity of parliamentary democracy, won't work for the government has lost its credibility completely. Forget convincing foreigners, the government doesn't have in it to make a way out of the domestic opposition.
The same sort of deadlock was witnessed in the late 1980s when despite leading a majority government, Rajiv Gandhi was left beleaguered by the Bofors scandal. Then one used to hear "Gali gali mein shor hain, Rajiv Gandhi chor hain." The term "chor" has made an entry into the sacred house today, that is the only difference.
The aggressive language used by the Opposition may not be desirable, but objectivity doesn't work in the realm of public sphere always, the hurt prime minister must remember. If he is really feeling humiliated today by terms like "chor", which is understandable because he has been a man of high regard, then it is his own inability to deliver that is responsible for this.
The second stint of Singh as the prime minister has left the nation in a great agony. Endless scams, trembling economy, border violations and rise in crime against women have seriously hurt the UPA II and none but the prime minister has been the biggest casualty.
If the PM feels disturbed by the Parliament's deteriorating status today, he should have taken up an initiative long ago to restore its dignity. He tolerated the corrupt politicians in his government and yet demanded respect for the Parliament. Sorry, Mr Prime Minister, it doesn't happen that way.
Singh's defence that he is not the custodian of coal files is a strange logic. The prime minister is neither a soldier with a gun nor a farmer tilling the field. Yet, a nation looks up to him to lead it at a time of war of economic development. This is how leadership functions. It doesn't always authors epic but at the same time, it also never evades responsibility.
Singh evaded his moral responsibility by making an irresponsible comment and yet sought responsibility. As a man who felt his honour has been left in the ruins, he should have left the office gracefully. But he didn't. Hence the consequences.