New Delhi : As Manmohan Singh – the two-time prime minister prepares to exit Seven Race Course road, the 81-year-old will be leaving a mixed legacy of achievements and failures.
A celebrated economist, he entered politics at the height of the 1991 economic crisis when late Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao inducted him into the government as Finance Minister. Together they lifted the economy out of the balance of payments crisis and then paved the way for the economic reforms on which no successive government has looked back. But the series of scams that surfaced during the UPA-II has washed away the good work done by him during the UPA-I.
Series of scams may have undone the good work of the 81-yr-old leader, but nobody can forget the way he steered India’s key economic reforms
A technocrat who had occupied various positions including as Reserve Bank Governor and Secretary General of the South-South Commission, he had earned a name for probity and integrity that made him the automatic choice for Sonia Gandhi when she decided to renounced the post of Prime Minister. Taking over as PM from the NDA government in the aftermath of the 2002 post-Godhra riots, Singh’s administration brought in a sense of balance in the situation.
Notwithstanding pulls and pressures from allies, especially the Left parties, Singh displayed considerable determination to go ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal and to end the sanctions regime against India even unmindful of the threats to UPA.
A renowned economist, his governments also delivered a robust 8.% GDP growth for most of his tenure but the scams – 2G, CWG and Coal block allocations–and the resultant policy paralysis of the government stymied his performance.
UPA-II could never come out of the rut, a point the corporates initially and the BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi exploited to the hilt to attack the government. Ironically, a man whose personal honesty has never been questioned came to preside over a government that was marked by a series of scams.
The perceived dual power centre in the Congress in the form of power vesting with party chief Sonia Gandhi also came to haunt him with critics attacking him as the weakest Prime Minister the country has had.
The last nail in the coffin was book by his media advisor, Sanjaya Baru who exposed the dual power centre system of the UPA government. However, Singh has maintained that history will be kinder to him than the current assessments. He was the first Sikh to become the Prime Minister after an Italian Christian – Sonia Gandhi – nominated him to the post to which he was sworn in by a Muslim President A P J Abdul Kalam. — IANS