Thursday, 4 June 2020

The Modi-Singh Meet Are Gandhis Shaking?

Updated: June 20, 2015 10:30 am

The Modi-Singh meet could change the political paradigm; a major upheaval in the Congress if Dr Singh tried to absolve himself of the CBI allegations and pass the buck to the Gandhis. This possibility is affirmed by the fact that Dr Singh shot at Modi before agreeing to talk. The question the gossip clubs are asking was that Dr Singh feigned a fight because he and Modi were scheduled to talk

Earl Stanley Gardiner seems to have joined with someone senior in  the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to write the script of the latest Manmohan Singh-Narendra Modi encounter, loftily called chai par charcha. There is a major controversy whether Modi invited Singh after the usually icy-cold and a man of very, very few words—hardly understandable at that—the former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had broken his maun and his philosophy of hazaron sawalon se achchi hai khamoshi. In an acerbic, frontal attack on Modi, he not only defended himself over coal bloc allocation scandal but also accused Modi of running a divisive government that was undermining his government’s economic and social initiatives.

In the morning, when he fired this sizzling salvo, the political temperature in Delhi rose and the politicos and jurnos expected a juicy war between MMS and NaMo.  The signs were all for a verbal confrontation after the BJP promptly counter-attacked and called Dr Singh a liar. Amit Shah: labelled Singh a puppet, Sambit Patra accused him of ‘looting and destroying’ the country and many other crimes a self-respecting man would have found difficult not to resist and rebut.

An MMS-NMS (Narendra Modi Sarkar) war is a rare event in politics. For ages, Singh has quietly endured the BJP’s attacks, kept his lips sealed even when he had to face the ignominy of being grilled by cops and named as an accused by the CBI. So, when he finally opened his mouth, it seemed all that magma stored inside Singh was about to erupt.

But while everyone was waiting for the resumption of volleys from either side, the news came that Modi and Singh were meeting at 7, Race Course Road. “Yeh kya hai, morning mein Dr Singh ne bura bhala kaha Modi ke barre mein aur sham ko Manmohanji chai pine chale gaye Modiji ke 7, Race Course ke ghar par,” said an exasperated Congressman.  Even a Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and John Cena ‘bout’ couldn’t have been fixed with more precision, pointed out a BJP leader with literary-bent mind.

If one believes the version put out by Singh’s office, he went at the invitation of Modi. Could it be plausible? One who was abusive is invited by the abused for a tete-a-tete. Was it that the morning salvo was a command performance—a puppet sang at the command of the string-holders—the Gandhis? And Modi had some inkling about this or he might have been curious to find out the reasons for such an outrage, so he invited Dr Singh, who could have declined the invitation. But he did not. Why?

Generally, politicians fight and then meet to bury their differences. Sometimes, they get together, come out and backstab each other under the pretext of sorting out differences. But, in this case, Singh and Modi meet could change the political paradigm; a major upheaval in the Congress if Dr Singh tried to absolve himself of the CBI allegations and pass the buck to the Gandhis. This possibility is affirmed by the fact that Dr Singh shot at Modi before agreeing to talk. The question the gossip clubs are asking was that Dr Singh feigned a fight because he and Modi were scheduled to talk.

What’s going on? Madhu Kishwar, former-friend-turned-foe, found it strange that former foes are turning friends. “Thought wheeling dealing was Jaitley’s domain,” she tweeted. The shouting and ranting on Arnab Goswami’s night hour discussion of who invited whom, and what could have transpired at the meeting did not reach any conclusion but provided enough gunfire for a political inferno already being lit by the usual Delhi speculators who occasionally do hit the Bull’s Eye.

One theory is that Dr Singh wanted a meeting to explain things like he and the family were never involved in any shady deals. Then who was involved? Did Manmohan Singh inform as to who was involved? This would make many Congressmen nervous. And Gandhis shake.

A press report quite some time ago had alleged that slips from Ahmed Patel would from time to time land up on the table of a senior official in the PMO, asking for allocation of coal blocs to X, Y or Z. This report, true or false, would be presumed to be an attempt by Dr Singh to cast off the allegations of favouritism and worse.  The meeting with Modi, lasting over an hour, while the CBI investigation is ongoing, thus assumes importance.

No one would believe that Modi invited him to rebut the charges made by Dr Singh. Modi would have replied publically so that the media—expectant and eager for a flare-up between the two—lapped it up and reported with some comments that would not only prolong the feud but create widespread curiosity. Nor would anyone believe that Dr Singh gave out some evidence or reasoning in his defence and did not name anyone else who might have done it.

It would have been natural for Modi to ask Dr Singh if he was not involved, then who else might have been involved? It would be after sometime we would know whether Singh answered the query, revealing all the intelligence reports he got or he personally knew or just said a blunt don’t-know.

Some have latched on to the theory that Singh went to meet the PM to discuss allegations of his involvement in the 2G scam and of being a pliant puppet of the Gandhis. Believers of the Singh-blinked-first school suggest the Modi-Singh meeting was another masterstroke by Modi. ‘‘He is trying to corner the Gandhis by taking the former PM into confidence,” the BJP spin doctors suggest.

Of course, Rahul Gandhi, on an aggressive abuse-Modi spree, again showed lack of IQ and comprehension of subtleties in Indian politics when he jibed, saying Dr Singh gave one-hour lesson on economic issues to Modi, which is absolutely rubbish. It is unlikely that Singh would have been audacious enough to even mildly reprimand Modi. The morning performance was possibly his last command performance.

I would hold on to the view that Singh could have indeed been invited by Modi to know if he was not involved, then who was. Let’s not forget  Pradeep Baijal’s allegations of Singh’s role in the 2G, surfacing around the same time.

Was it all a pressure tactics to make Dr Singh tell the truth and nothing but the truth. Now the speculation is that the string-holder was certainly in the know of how coal blocs were being allotted, and could have been a partner in the under the table understanding—at least all this has been speculated for quite some time. A bizarre theory was put by an old Congress leader, no longer on the radar of the Gandhis. He speculated whether Modi was attempting to persuade Dr Singh to turn an approver in the CBI case. Who knows? For Modi, the real opponents are the Gandhis. Manmohan Singh, on his own, hardly matters.

No, they didn’t meet because they were fighting. They fought because they were meeting. Samjhe!

By Vijay Dutt

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