“I honestly believe that history will be kinder to me than the contemporary media, or for that matter, the Opposition parties in Parliament,” Manmohan Singh had said on January 3, 2014 in what was his last interaction with the media as Prime Minister. As it appears, his words are turning out to be prophetic as Indians realise the difference to their lives that an enlightened and educated leader at the helm can make. Victim of a well-funded and well-orchestrated conspiracy in which businesses, media, a few institutions and rival parties colluded, Manmohan Singh, along with then Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, were the prime targets of the worst abuses in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Irregularities in the 2G spectrum sale, coal block allocation, Commonwealth Games were blown out of proportion and a picture was portrayed of Singh as someone who was ‘weak’, ‘ineffectual’, a ‘puppet’ who could not rein in corruption. As the country knows today, little truth has since been found in those allegations and on the contrary, a 13-day-old company has been given contracts to manufacture a state-of-the-art fighter aircraft by the current government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Exports are at an all-time low and the government is being forced to tamper with back series GDP growth data of UPA years to make its inflated figures look credible. And apart from the disaster in the economy, the country’s social fabric has been torn to pieces by unprecedented lynchings of citizens in the name of protecting cows
The fears expressed by Manmohan Singh about the possible impact of Modi’s inexplicable Demonetisation exercise on the economy have come true. Employment fell as MSMEs and SMEs bore the brunt of the exercise and lakhs of small businesses folded up. Farmers did not have money to sow or reap. His remark that hasty implementation of GST would slow down the economy also has come true. He had said that Narendra Modi as PM would be disastrous for India.
That is also totally true. Gross NPAs of Indian banks were to the tune of Rs 2,24,542 crore as on June 30, 2014. At the end of December, 2017, that figure had risen to Rs 7,23,513 crore. It is widely believed that it has crossed well over Rs 10 lakh crore by now. The entire banking and lending system, the real engine of growth, in the country has come to a grinding halt. Exports are at an all-time low and the government is being forced to tamper with back series GDP growth data of UPA years to make its inflated figures look credible. And apart from the disaster in the economy, the country’s social fabric has been torn to pieces by unprecedented lynchings of citizens in the name of protecting cows. India’s relations with all its neighbours have worsened and Modi’s policies have given China a firm foothold in Nepal. Modi’s overtures to the US and signing of controversial treaties have made New Delhi Washington’s pawn in South Asia. For the first time, India’s trusted friend Russia is selling significant weapon systems to Pakistan. History will absolve Manmohan Singh but it may not be that kind to Narendra Modi.