Friday, November 09, 2012

India, then and now

The Hindu dated 8th Nov.,1962 reported as under:

"Krishna Menon quits

Mr. V.K. Krishna Menon’s resignation from the Central Cabinet has been accepted. Mr. Nehru made this announcement at an unprecedentedly well-attended meeting of the Central Congress Parliamentary Party on November 7. Mr. Nehru praised the services of Mr. Menon to the country and said he was a talented and intelligent person and had devoted all his energies to modernise the armed forces, which the country had inherited from the British, along scientific lines and according to the needs of free India. He also praised Mr. Menon’s efforts to step up defence production. Earlier in the day when the Party Executive discussed the subject, 21 members out of 34, solidly demanded Mr. Menon’s removal from the Cabinet. Mr. Nehru argued that along with Mr. Menon he himself could not escape the responsibility for whatever might have happened."

This was how the Congress party functioned when Nehru was the prime minister. It is worth noting that the party executive was bold enough to demand the resignation of a minister who had committed an error. Equally impressive is the fact that the prime minister held himself also accountable for the faux pas.

Contrast this with what the present-day worthies do. For example when A.Raja adopted devious ways for allotment of spectrum and perhaps lined a few pockets in the bargain, no one from the ministry uttered a word against him. The all-knowing prime minister gave him a clean chit. When Raja became an intolerable liability, Manmohan Singh started distancing himself. This 'conscientious' prime minister claimed he was not responsible even for PMO's deficiencies! Wrong-doings were attributed to 'coalition dharma'. I wonder if the British prime minister who is also leading a coalition government ever advances an alibi like this.

Jawaharlal Nehru was not a paragon of virtue. But compared to the economist-prime minister, he was an angel.

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