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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Mr PM, will it be 6/10 again?

A year back, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave his government six out of 10. It?s not clear how he?d rate it this time, writesSaroj Nagi.

india Updated: May 09, 2006 02:01 IST
Saroj Nagi
Saroj Nagi

A year back, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave his government six out of 10. It’s not clear how he’d rate it this time, but the run-up to the completion of two years in office is marked by controversies.  
The sense of satisfaction that defined the first anniversary in 2005 was reflected in the CWC resolution hailing the UPA’s successful performance, the release of a booklet listing the UPA’s achievements and a press conference, a few days later, in which Singh denied he was a “weak” PM or that he’d call it quits under pressure. The celebratory mood was evident also in the tea Congress president Sonia Gandhi had hosted for scribes at that time.

The mood appears a little sombre at least for now. And for more reasons than one. If the tendency of Congress ministers and leaders speaking out of turn has sent out wrong signals, there are the unresolved issues of quotas-in-education and job reservations in the private sector and apprehensions that the UPA’s pro-poor image may take a beating. The PM, like other Congress leaders, is reportedly worried about the rise in prices of essential commodities. This concern would deepen, if there is a hike in oil prices as well.

Both these issues directly hit the aam aadmi, the centrepiece of the UPA’s CMP, and threaten to eclipse the government’s achievements of a booming economy, high investments and attempts at inclusive growth, including job guarantees for the rural poor.

“It will be fair to say my government’s performance has not deteriorated… I think our performance has been good,’’ the PM told London’s Financial Times in his pre-anniversary interviews. But, he admitted, it’s too early to judge whether the Centre’s programmes are fostering more inclusive growth. 

Indeed, sources said, Congress leaders are concerned that the UPA’s gains don’t seem to translate into ground level support for the organisation — an issue the party would have to address even as there are fears that the Iran vote and the Bush visit may have upset the Muslims.