CHURUMURI POLL: India’s best prime minister?

Bruised and battered by crisis after crisis, prime minister Manmohan Singh has received a rare stamp of approval from fellow-sardar Khushwant Singh. “The dirty old man of Indian journalism” has rated Manmohan as the “best prime minister” India has ever had, higher than Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his other successors.

K. Singh lauds M. Singh’s integrity, calling him its “best example“. Unlike “impatient” Nehru’s instinctively anti-American and blindly pro-Soviet Union stance, “humble and simple” M. Singh, he says, has a free and open mind, and cannot ever be accused of nepotism, as Nehru and his “petty and dictatorial” daughter Indira Gandhi could.

In contrast to “dynamic” Sanjay Gandhi, K. Singh terms his elder brother Rajiv Gandhi as more of a “boy scout“.

Singh’s scorecard comes in the same week as an India Today mood-of-the-nation opinion poll, showing Manmohan Singh’s popularity at its lowest in his sixth year in office. Singh gets a measly one per cent approval rating, compared with Rahul Gandhi (29%), Atal Behari Vajpayee (16%) and Sonia Gandhi (13%) as a prime ministerial candidate.

Question: Who has been India’s best prime minister?