Has the middle-class deserted Manmohan Singh?

Manmohan Singh was always the darling of the middle-class. He was educated, honest, and had risen to the top on his own steam—plus Manmohanomics had put money in their pockets. Clean Mr Singh was seen to be beyond all the muck that the “system” was seeped in.

Post the 2G, CWG and Adarsh housing scams in UPA-II, this umbilical chord bond between Manmohan and the middle-class has broken, writes Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr in DNA:

“In the beginning the middle class saw Singh as an honest man who had nothing to do with the political quagmire surrounding him. From 1991 to 1996, it was P.V. Narasimha Rao who was the villain of all the things that went wrong….

“Even during his first term as prime minister, Singh was spared the criticism. The sharpest criticism of the main opposition party, the BJP, was that he was weak and ineffective and not his own man.

“By the end of 2010, the scandals and corruption that overwhelmed the UPA-II, and friends of Singh were not willing to give him the privilege of being a non-political prime minister anymore. In an abrupt turnaround, they are now pinning the blame on the man for pervasive corruption.

“There are two reasons for this. For the first time, the middle class is feeling the pain of market economy in recession. It is bitter and angry and in an irrational manner thinks the PM is somehow responsible for its economic anxieties arising out of the 2008 market meltdown.

“Corruption comes in handy to nail Singh at last. They are not willing to accept that an honest man cannot do much to fight the corruption around him on his own. They are now convinced that he had the power to prevent corruption and remove the persons responsible for it, without realising that then he would be bringing the roof down upon himself and his party, if he does so.”

Cartoon: courtesy Thomas Anton

Read the full article: The middle-class turns away from the PM

Also read: Why our silly middle-class loves Narendra Modi

An epitaph to the literate, educated middle-class

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15 Responses to “Has the middle-class deserted Manmohan Singh?”

  1. Sanjeeva Says:

    No, PM has deserted the Middle Class

  2. Vinay Says:

    Incorrect analysis. This sentence is plain inaccurate:

    “For the first time, the middle class is feeling the pain of market economy in recession.”

    Recession is past us. The first half of 2009 was bad, but the second half of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 have been very good from a “middle class” perspective. Hiring is up, the markets are up, real estate is booming again.

    The only sour note is the high vegetable prices, but let’s get real here: the “middle class” which the author refers to is not really affected by these price fluctuations. It is the poor, those who are not “middle class” who are facing the brunt.

    The “middle class” is not “bitter and angry” – 2009 was the right time to make such a statement. The recession was really at its peak then, but MMS won handsomely in the elections. How would the author explain that?

    The real reason for the increasing criticism of MMS is very simple and straightforward – the immense amount of scams we have seen in the media – especially the CWG and the 2G stuff. There were always people who criticized MMS for being “weak” and “taking orders from Madam”, but those murmurs turned into high pitch and reached a crescendo due to the scams and the constant discussions on scams.

    It really is that simple. There is no need to look for complex explanations.

  3. arjun Says:

    the nation is pained by the short termed thinking of middle class always- singh is mr.clean even today. But he is the PM- representative of the entire country- everyone knows he is the pseudo PM but people get just carried by his image. Its high time the people think well before voting. there are a lot of pseudo seculars in our society. (i am also from middle class)

  4. DailyBread Says:

    MMS never had any support from middle class. Last time he contested a parliamentary election from South Delhi, a middle class bastion he lost miserably. On cue from 10 Janpath it is Delhi media which is pissed off with him for leaking Radia tapes has deserted him. I guess it is a passing phase, Radiamedia can always be bought back at the right price.

  5. Anti Corrupt Says:


  6. Vaidehi Says:

    DailyBread :

    On cue from 10 Janpath it is Delhi media which is pissed off with him for leaking Radia tapes has deserted him.

    Is it a surmise or any links to support both these claims?

    1) On cue from 10 Janpath.

    2) him for leaking Radia tapes.

  7. Gana Says:

    I read a new today that “Youth should join politics, says Rahul Gandhi” I am happy that someone is really shouting hard to get the youth into politics! But how can a youth join politics without the experience? Won’t he be inexperienced to take bribe? Will he fit into the system without dishonesty certification?

    I think Manmohan is still a credible and honest person every damn hard earning middle class person thinks but he is again part of the worst ever Indian political system – he has no guts to take on some of the burning issues that hindering the progressive India.

  8. Dr Y N I Anand Says:

    For the last few days, we have been deluged with details of the 2G spectrum scam. Every channel worth its salt has aired innumerable talk shows and discussions on this mother of all scams. On the one hand Subramanyam Swamy is accusing Dr. Manmohan Singh of refusing to act on his petition to prosecute Andimuthu Raja, and on the other we have the congress spokespersons eulogizing the Government’s morality sacking in Raja. All this reminds of a Vikramaditya and the vetal story I read years ago.

    Once there lived an old and pious man, renowned for his honesty. One day his neighbor, a rich merchant comes to him with a request. The merchant was leaving on a voyage and wants the old man to safeguard his wealth, until his return. The old man agrees and with God as witness promises to protect and safeguard the merchant’s wealth.

    The old man then entrusts the safe keep of the merchant’s wealth to his son, from whom he takes an oath of propriety and honesty. Slowly the son starts dipping into the merchants wealth, people notice this and warn the old man of the son’s misdeeds. The old man calls his son asks him to explain, he also reminds him of his oath on following the right path. The son rubbishes the accusations as rumors and the idle gossip of jealous people, who could bear to see his prosperity. The old man accepts the son’s explanation and things go on as before.

    The merchant returns and demands his wealth. The old man calls his son, who hands over a quarter of the merchant’s wealth saying that is all there was. The merchant realizing that he has been cheated approaches the King. The King listens to the merchant’s complaint and summons the old man. The old man comes to the court with his son and handing him over to the King says “your majesty, the merchant is right. My son has confessed to the crime. Please punish him.”

    The king has the son flogged and imprisoned. He then praises the old mans honesty and dismisses the case. But the merchant demands punishment for the old man saying, “I have still not received justice. I had entrusted my wealth to the old man which he swore by God to safeguard. The old man’s integrity is intact, but what of me, I have been robbed of my life’s savings, and made a pauper. It was the old man’s decision to entrust my wealth the son for safe keeping. As far as I am concerned the old man is the culprit, and should be punished.

    The king is astounded by this demand. The old man, was neither a party to the theft nor did he benefit from it. In fact, he had sent his son to jail. Yet, the merchant was asking for the old man’s punishment.

    The vetal asks Vikramaditya, “What should be the Kings decision.”

    Vikramaditya’s replies, “Though the old man is innocent of the actual theft, he is guilty of dereliction of duty. The son’s crime was a straight forward one, the old man’s was a graver crime. He did nothing to protect the merchant’s wealth. Far from being vigilant he failed to take action even when he was warned of his son’s misdeeds. Because of his laxity the merchant is condemned to a life of penury. He should be punished.”

    India 2010, Dr. Manmohan Singh, esteemed economist, former Governor of RBI, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, former Finance Minister, a man whose personal ethics and integrity are unblemished, takes oath to protect and safeguard the Nation and its assets. He appoints Raja, as his Cabinet Minister for IT & Telecom.

    Raja the Telecom Minister has with him keys to the 2G spectrum a finite and precious National asset. Raja flouts all rules of propriety and transparency in Government, and in violation of his oath of office, sells the spectrum at a throw away price of Rs.1651 crore.

    1. DoT with Raja at its helm issues an astounding 120 UAS licenses in a single day, January 10, 2008. A feat unsurpassed in the history of Government anywhere in the world. Suspiciously 85 of these licenses are issued to companies which suppressed facts, disclosed incomplete information and submitted fictitious documents.

    2. In issuing these licenses neither the High Powered Telecom Commission, which was expressly set up for this nor the Finance Ministry or the Ministry of Law and Justice are consulted. Vital decisions are taken without being deliberated and discussed at inter ministerial forums.

    3. In sharp deviation of business practice, the cut off date for receiving applications gets advanced from Oct 1, 2007 to Sept 25, 2007, violating all canons of fair play and ethics.

    4. Real estate companies which till date of application had no interest in Telecom are allotted Licenses and spectrum ahead of genuine applicants. These then go on to reap windfalls from foreign players by selling equity.

    Unlike the story, this heist of a precious national asset is carried out in full view of Dr. Manmohan Singh and his cabinet colleagues. Newspapers across the country cry out at this outrage in front page headlines.

    The Indian Constitution grants the Prime Minister absolute power in running the country. He is the head of the Government and the Union Cabinet functions at his pleasure. As per the Transaction of Business Rules the Prime Minister has the unrestricted right to demand and get any file, any record from any Ministry. Dr. Man Mohan Singh could have at any time stopped this heist of a National asset, yet he chose to remain silent. The Minister’s failure to exercise his constitutional rights has caused irreparable loss to the Nation.

    Dr. Singh did not profit personally from Raja’s shenigans, but his failure to act, to honor the oath of office, to protect and safeguard the nation and its wealth is unforgivable. Like the old man, he has sacked Raja from his ministerial berth, but does his culpability end there.

    The people of India had entrusted their faith and the future of the Nation in Dr. Manmohan Singh, believing him to be a man of integrity and honesty, and not to Raja. Does dismissing Raja absolve Dr. Singh or like the old man is he guilty of dereliction of duty and failure to safeguard the Nation and its citizens. Does he deserve punishment?

    It is for the Indian citizen to decide, whether of not Dr. Singh is guilty.

    courtesy: Hindi Milap, Hyderabad

  9. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Dr YNI Anand,

    An excellent post! MMS should be given exemplary punishment for a white-collar crime. Thanks.

  10. DailyBread Says:


    >Is it a surmise or any links to support both these claims?

    According to sources Madam, unnamed reliable sources :)

    I am surprised, since when did political/social punditry is being backed up with links.

  11. Jagadish Says:

    Manmohan is the most useless PM we have ever seen. He is ‘clean’ only because he is useless and powerless to do anything. Great power is great responsibility, but an already powerless man has no incentive to become corrupt. Anyway, the whole party and by extension, the country is being run by the Italian madam and her brainless son.

    Today if anyone trusts MMS he is either a congress stooge or a brainless moron.

  12. Vaidehi Says:

    DailyBread :

    I get it. For a while I thought it’s a well-known news story which I had missed. Thanks for clarifying that it is some usual armchair fantasizing aided by agenda driven reliable sources who would remain unnamed in a conspiratorial manner. But then, generally you used to do better. Hence was the question.

  13. DailyBread Says:


    >that it is some usual armchair fantasizing aided by agenda driven reliable sources who would remain unnamed in a conspiratorial manner.

    There you go, a quick reference guide of SOP for Delhi media, distilled down to one sentence…..

  14. IPaidABribe Says:

    The common man is the one who bears the brunt of all corruption. While it takes a 2G, CWG and Adarsh to jolt the nation, there are petty corruption issues which an average Indian is faced with every day. Since the bureaucrats and government officials have discretionary powers to delay any procedure unreasonably, the common man is forced to pay a bribe despite his will for government services which are supposed to be free of cost. IPAB (I Paid A Bribe) is an initiative of a Bangalore based NGO, Janaagraha to tackle the menace of corruption using a crowd-sourced model. The platform allows the user to report bribes which are further analysed by our team into reports. These reports are then used as a base to argue with the government to bring about systemic reforms. As of today, we have 3180 ‘paid a bribe’, 350 ‘didn’t pay a bribe’ and 145 ‘didn’t have to pay a bribe’ reports. We do not believe in targeting individuals, but in bringing about a systemic reform. For more details on IPAB’s anti-corruption efforts log on to http://www.ipaidabribe.com/

    IPAB Team
    Uncover the market price of corruption

  15. Vyshali Says:

    My take on Lok Pal Bill & PM Manmohan Singh


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