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Delhi Diary

Unfortunately, I discovered that for all Manmohan Singh's famous humility, he is ultra-sensitive to personal criticism

Delhi Diary
Delhi Diary
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Yours, Disappointed

As a human being, Dr Manmohan Singh has many fine qualities. He is soft-spoken, erudite, extremely civil and apparently he has no ego. It is difficult not to like him. My own cursory relationship with him has been both pleasant and rocky. Unfortunately, I discovered that for all his famous humility, he is ultra-sensitive to personal criticism. For a politician, he has a thin skin. I began well with the odd invitation to tea at his office and residence. The trouble started with one piece by Arundhati Roy in Outlook where she went for him in true Arundhati style. Moreover, his courtiers—and there were quite a few—told him that in the Sonia vs PM, or to be more precise, Party vs PM matter, I was firmly on the side of the Party. When rumours started floating that Manmohan may resign if he did not get his way over the 2008 nuclear deal, I wrote an editorial saying the nuclear deal was not worth sacrificing the government for. Incidentally, the magic deal was not even an election issue in 2009. And today lies forgotten.

Coalgate has exposed Manmohan Singh badly. The emperor seems to have no clothes. The scam and the way it has been handled is not just a monumental cock-up but it asks questions of Manmohan the nation has never asked before. I do not wish to dwell on Ashwani Kumar because he is not worth dwelling on. For all of us who know him, he is a crude self-promoter besides being a chump. Anyone who could have called a most indiscreet meeting at his office summoning all and sundry to discuss the confidential status report requires to have his head examined. How does such a man become the prime minister’s favourite? Sycophants do not need to be put in the cabinet. When it comes to picking people, Manmohan Singh has the skill of Julius Caesar.

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