Free Press Journal

More to Manmohan-Modi meeting than meets the eye?


Narendra Modi with Manmohan Singh

The mercury in Delhi may have dipped somewhat on Wednesday May 27after a severe heat wave over the preceding week but politically there was a peaking of heat followed by a whiff of fresh air towards the evening on that eventful day.

The day began with former prime minister Manmohan Singh going on the offensive against the Narendra Modi government. Addressing a convention of the National Students’ Union of India he said the Modi government was “harping on corruption” to divert people’s attention to non-issues.

He went on to say that under the Modi government institutions of democracy were under threat and the entire edifice of the welfare state was being dismantled in the name of promoting faster economic growth.

Dr Singh was fighting with his back to the wall in the face of allegations by former Telecom Regulatory Authority chairman Pradip Baijal in his biography that he (Dr Singh) had warned him of “harm” if he didn’t cooperate in the 2G case.

Dr Singh’s diatribe against Modi at the NSUI Convention led to Modi’s retaliatory action not against Dr Singh but against Sonia Gandhi and the Congress. In an interview to PTI Modi said Congress president Sonia Gandhi had been an “unconstitutional” authority exercising “real power” over the Prime Minister’s office during UPA rule whereas in his (Modi’s) dispensation power was wielded by constitutional means.

As if on cue, BJP president Amit Shah took on the former prime minister when he said “I accept the PM (Dr Singh) was not corrupt, but it was his job to ensure the same of his ministers.”

At Sundown a surprise awaited political pundits as Dr Manmohan Singh sauntered into Modi’s official residence for a private pow-wow on an invite from Modi. They met for 37 minutes and if Modi is to be believed the meeting was very cordial.

Is something to be made of the fact that in his address to NSUI Dr Singh did not even once defend the Congress or any of the tainted ministers of the time? He only defended himself.

Also, even if the invite from Modi had come, was there such an urgency for Dr Singh to dash to Modi’s residence in an apparent bid to humour him up?

Was there any special reason why Dr Singh chose to spend time with Prime Minister Modi without the presence of aides on either side? To cut the long story short, was there more to the meeting than meets the naked eye? Only time will have the answers, if at all.