Is Manmohan Singh near his ‘best-before’ date?

Is change in the air in New Delhi?

First, everybody and his uncle have been attacking him for the bushfires raging across the nation—Telangana, Kashmir, Maoist terrorism, corruption, price rise, CWG etc. Then, his ministerial and party colleagues seem to think the government should be going in exactly the opposite direction he is taking it.

Now, with the nuclear liability bill out of the way, two commentators say it is time for Sonia Gandhi to step up to the plate and take charge if UPA-II is to not completely wither away. Even as Manmohan Singh prepares to meet editors in a PR exercise after becoming the third-longest serving PM.

Tavleen Singh in The Indian Express:

“The reason why I appeal to her to please take the job (if she thinks Rahul is not ready) is because wherever I go these days I meet people who say they are sick and tired of Dr Manmohan Singh….

“There is no point any longer in pretending that you are just a social worker totally uninterested in power and pelf. Everyone knows that you are the most powerful person in India at the moment and that the second most powerful person is your son and heir. Immense power cannot come without immense responsibility. Ruling from behind the throne worked in the time of kings and absolute rulers. Democracy demands power with accountability and under your government this rule has been broken for too long.”

Soutik Biswas in the BBC:

“The much-hyped diarchy—Sonia Gandhi’s prime ministerial apointee Manmohan Singh runs the government, and she runs the party—doesn’t appear to be delivering the goods. Mr Singh is seen as a hardworking, dour economist-technocrat, while Mrs Gandhi is seen as a somewhat distant, slightly enigmatic figure, who does not spell out her vision on most issues. The problem is neither seem to be interested in taking the initiative….

“Many feel it is time for Ms Gandhi to step out, assert her authority and take responsibility. Right now, the buck does not appear to stop with anybody in the government or the party.”

Also read: In one-horse race, Rahul baba is a two-trick pony

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Jesus, Mozart, Alexander and apun ka Rahul

A functioning anarchy? Or a feudal democracy?