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Leadership in the Congress - Missing in action

By Swati Chaturvedi | Last Updated: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 18:14
Swati Chaturvedi

So just who is in charge in the UPA government and the Congress party? Like nature, politics abhors a vacuum. And, when the ‘rock star of yoga’ Baba Ramdev acquires a status almost on par with the much lauded scholar Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, surely it is time to press real hard on the panic button.

To me the most interesting part of the latest tenure of the UPA government is the dwarfing of the PM. Earlier he could do no wrong, and now as he looks hapless as the government he nominally leads lurches from crisis to crisis. Congressmen, ruthless to the core are already circling for the kill. A whisper has started - pack him off to Rashtrapati Bhavan otherwise Pranab Mukerjee will certainly demand the house on the hill.

Objectively, the last time our PM displayed leadership was on the Indo-USA nuclear deal. After that leadership has become a spectator sport to him.

He comes out occasionally and deflects the blame from those whose hands are in the till.

Consider the Baba bomb. A decision had been taken to talk to him at the airport and extern him from Delhi. A mystery phone call from Kapil Sibal, the PM's man for all reasons and seasons, changed that and the Baba was allowed to a tandav while a prostrate government did a shavasan at his feet in the ceremonial lounge of Delhi airport.

A second time at Claridges Hotel the order was ready but not served, as Subodh Kant Sahay, who touches the Baba's feet, and Sibal, who can be a brand ambassador for a helium balloon, fell for the Baba's guarantees.

Was it just me or were you also nauseated at the spectacle of the Government of India being reduced to a red carpet for Baba Ramdev to walk on?

And, then the crackdown, how on earth can it be justified? Even those who think that Baba should stick to Babagiri were appalled, and despite an innocent teacher being paralysed for life, not a word of sympathy from Congress president, Sonia Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi whose heart bled for Bhatta Parsaul couldn’t be bothered about Rajbala.

Forget the dancing dervishes of the BJP, as a citizen I want my government to function, to provide leadership. As of now that seems to be as impossible as getting Baba Ramdev to stay away from his best friend - a TV camera.

First Published: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 18:14

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