How many marks will PM give tomorrow to UPA-II?
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Last Updated: Sunday, May 23, 2010, 15:28
  
New Delhi: How many marks will Prime Minister Manmohan Singh give to the performance of the UPA-II in the first year which has generally been a sweet-n-sour affair?

This is the question being asked in political circles ahead of Singh's first press conference here tomorrow since taking over as PM for the second time after a full term.

When the UPA-I had completed one year in May 2005, Singh gave six out of ten marks to its performance but said he was not satisfied with it. He had emphasised the need for reforms in government, political system and judiciary.

The Prime Minister had then recalled that a journalist had asked what score he would give to himself and his government.

"And I said 6/10. For some, this may seem a reasonable mark to get but I have never been satisfied with 60 percent," Singh had said, adding, "I do sincerely believe that we can do better. In the coming year, that will be our endeavour.

"I am not satisfied with what we have been able to do in terms of implementing new policy initiatives," he had said in a frank appraisal of his government's working at the Congress Working Committee meeting shortly before the UPA-I completed one year.

At that time, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who is also UPA chairperson, had congratulated the Prime Minister and his colleagues in government for 'satisfactory' performance during one year of rule.

This time, there has been no meeting of the Congress Working Committee to take stock of the government's working or to deliberate on the Maoist menace in the backdrop of the major strikes by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh that have sent the alarm bells ringing.

While the first anniversary of the UPA-I had seen the Left parties, key outside supporters, staying away, the anniversary function of the UPA-II scheduled yesterday was postponed in the wake of the Air India Express plane crash at Mangalore.

In the UPA-I, Singh had addressed the first press conference on September 4, 2004, over three months after taking over as the first Prime Minister of a Congress-led coalition.

It was the first formal press conference by a Prime Minister in more than a decade which had seen the likes of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, IK Gujral and HD Deve Gowda at the helm.

At that press conference, Singh had lamented that a new government is normally granted a "honeymoon period" for settling down to work. "Unfortunately, I have not been granted that indulgence and we have to hit the ground running".

"Every political party has a right to seek power, but once the people's verdict is in, the winner must govern", Singh had said telling the Opposition that they are "adversaries in polls, but partners in progress".

In the second press conference held on Feb 1, 2006, the Prime Minister had hailed the NREGA as the biggest achievement of his government.

On being reminded that he has been described by the Opposition as "the weakest Prime Minister, a fugitive Prime Minister, a Prime Minister in office but not in power", Singh chose to give an idiomatic explanation without losing his calm.

"The proof of the pudding is in the eating. I have not done anything to deserve such epithets. I should be judged not by what Mr Advani says but what I do," he had said and drew attention to the fast-growing economy with an encouraging growth rate and savings rate.

He was his cautious self when asked if Sonia Gandhi was more powerful than him, and said, "She is a source of strength for me."

PTI


First Published: Sunday, May 23, 2010, 15:28


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