Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave countless Indians the shock of their lives last week. Speaking to reporters, he indicated that the idea of being prime minister for a third term continues to titillate him. He may be considered a non- politician but the PM has obviously done his arithmetic.
With the BJP failing to get its act together and Congress vice- president still to make up his mind on the issue of prime ministership, he realises that a scenario where the Congress returns to power might end up seeing him being offered the top job again. What he hasn’t reckoned with is whether the country would want him back as the PM.
Even those who admire Singh for his personal integrity are not likely to contest the fact that the leadership he has provided the country in the last nine years is not what it really needs.
His regime has not just been marked by a spate of corruption scandals, even the economy which should have been doing well given his professional credentials is in dire straits. Such circumstances make a change in the PM all important in case the Congress returns to power after the next general elections. Were he to introspect, Singh would realise that he has already got more than his due.
For a Congressman who was never seen as a frontrunner for the top job till party chief Sonia Gandhi pitched his name he is likely to end up having been PM for two consecutive terms.
A man who has never been directly elected by this country’s electorate managed to pip more eligible candidates to the post. This is more than enough reason for him to call it a day. As it is, Singh is 80 years old, a time of life when he should be tending his kitchen garden, playing with his grand children and perhaps writing his memoirs.
To not appreciate this would be to join the likes of leaders like L. K. Advani who don’t know when their time is up. Even those who admire Singh are not likely to forget his leadership marred by various scams.
It’s time to call it quits, Mr PM.