By Soroor Ahmed (NVONews.Com)
After the Indian media it is now the turn of the global Press to be critical of Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. The latest to do so is Washington Post, which called him “a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government”.
The report said: “The story of Singh’s dramatic fall from grace in his second term in office and the slow but steady tarnishing of his reputation has played out in parallel with his country’s decline on his watch.
“As India’s economy has slowed and as its reputation for rampant corruption has reasserted itself, the idea that the country was on an inexorable road to becoming a global power has increasingly come into question,” the daily wrote.
It went on to say that the irony is “Singh’s greatest selling points––his incorruptibility and economic experience – are the mirror image of his government’s greatest failings”.
“Under Singh, economic reforms have stalled, growth has slowed sharply and the rupee has collapsed. But just as damaging to his reputation is the accusation that he looked the other way and remained silent as his cabinet colleagues filled their own pockets,” the report added.
The Prime Minister’s criticism in Washington Post came less than two months after Britain’s The Independent carried a report with the headline “Manmohan Singh: India’s saviour or Sonia’s poodle?”
The July 16 report of this daily observed that Manmohan Singh’s reforming zeal had evaporated and slowed the country’s growth. It also quoted observers to say he had “no genuine political power” and owed his position to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
But that story too came a few days after Time magazine dubbed Manmohan Singh an “underachiever”. It too asked whether the architect of 1991 economic reforms could rouse himself and put India back on the high growth path.
Though the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) lodged a formal protest with Washington Post and termed the report as “unethical and unprofessional” a close analysis of all the media reporting, especially of the West, is that they are all making comparison with finance minister Manmohan Singh of 1991. Instead of giving credit to the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao for the economic reforms, the western Press have, over the years, been giving fulsome praise to Manmohan Singh.
Critics say that now that as the Prime Minister of the country he is reaping what he had sowed in 1991 the Press, both national and international, have turned their guns on him. The truth is that the present-day corruption has much to do with the same economic reforms, which he as the finance minister of the country introduced.
While the media, both national and international, are quick in appreciating the boons of capitalism, yet when it comes to highlighting its banes they simply back off and put all the blame on just one man. What needs to be told is that much of the present-day corruption in the system has to do with the same policy of liberalization, privatisation and globalization, say many economists.