PM Manmohan Singh`s personal integrity was always above board: Jaitley

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Tuesday heaped praises on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and said that his personal integrity was always above board. However, the BJP leader at the same time went on to say that the former finance minister never came out as a leader.

Last Updated: May 13, 2014, 14:15 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Tuesday heaped praises on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and said that his personal integrity was always above board. However, the BJP leader at the same time went on to say that the former finance minister never came out as a leader.

Jatley, who had contested the General Elections from Amritsar constituency, wrote a blog sharing his thoughts and experience of working with Dr Singh. Here`s what the BJP leader wrote:

"There were two strong qualities of Prime Minister that I discovered. Firstly, whenever you discussed a serious subject with the Prime Minister he came out as a man of scholarship. He was what we call to as “a Syana aadmi”. His words were measured and he would reflect before making a comment. Secondly, his personal integrity was always above board. With an element of scholarship he was always be well read and well prepared on any subject that he dealt with."

And yet, when he addressed the country, he never came out as a leader. The reason for not coming out as a leader was clear. He never wanted to rock the boat. He knew that he was vested with limited power and on all major decisions he had to keep the party and its first family in good humor.

Thus when the reform process was blocked on account of decisions of the National Advisory Council or when Rahul Gandhi tore apart the papers of objectionable ordinance, the Prime Minister was perceived as a non-leader who had to accept everything without his opinion mattering significantly. It was his inability to overrule people which affected his functioning. He did not have the last word.
Had he overruled his Finance Minister on the retrospective tax law knowing fully well the consequences of a retrospective taxation, the Prime Minister would have stood out. If he had stood up and cancelled the Coal Blocks allocation once the fraud was revealed or cancelled the 2G licenses himself rather than wait for the Court to do it I have no doubt that history would have recorded him very differently. It was the inability to speak up within his own party that may compel the historians to take a different view of the man.

As curtains draw to a close and a ten year long period of providing leadership to the Government of India, the Prime Minister goes out with dignity and grace. He will remain an elder statesman and a man of credibility to guide the nation. Only if he had stood up at the right time and disagreed he would have been regarded with still a greater honour.
I wish the Prime Minister a very good health and many more years of public service. If he were to write his memoirs and I will always want to read the chapter which deals with 1991-96 period.