The time to thump the table has come.
The time to say: Here I am. Here I will be. The Prime Minister of India.
The time to tell the people of India: I have received your message. I understand your anguish over the state of India. I share your concerns over corruption. I realise that it has become the single dominating issue governing the thought process of the nation. Of what use eight plus growth rate, of what use my unblemished reputation as a man of integrity, if I am perceived by large sections of the people as heading a Government of the corrupt, by the corrupt and for the corrupt. I am determined to see that your anguish is mitigated and that your concerns are addressed in the short time that is still left for me to serve as the Prime Minister of this great nation. If I cannot do that due to circumstances beyond my control, I will quit without a moment’s hesitation. Heavens won’t fall if I cease to be the Prime Minister of India. I would rather be an ordinary citizen of this great country than be its effete Prime Minister unable to do what he wants to do, unable to do what he ought to do.
The time to tell your colleagues in your Cabinet: I am the Prime Minister so long as I sit in this chair. I shall remain the Prime Minister. I will be heard. I will be respected. I will be obeyed. My instructions will be adhered to. Those not willing to do so, better quit the Cabinet. If they don’t, I would not hesitate to drop them from the Cabinet.
The time to tell Mrs.Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Congress (I): I may have been nominated by you to sit in this chair. So long as I sit in this chair, I am the Prime Minister of India and not you. All governmental authority will flow from me and not from you. My voice and my authority will count --- and count decisively—in all policy matters affecting national interests. My first obligation as the Prime Minister is to the people of India. I will listen to their voice and let that voice have its due role in influencing policy-making. There cannot be two centres of authority. The country cannot afford to have a Prime Minister who is seen by the people as no Prime Minister. Hereafter, I will either be the effective Prime Minister of India or you look for someone else with whom you feel comfortable and who will carry out your wishes. If I quit, the worst that can happen to me is that I will be reduced to a non-person as it happened to Narasimha Rao. So be it. I will rather go down in history as a non-person, but who was respected by his people rather than as a Prime Minister who was laughed at by his people.
The time to tell your colleagues in the Congress (I):Better stop your campaign to weaken my authority as the Prime Minister of India and to project Rahul Gandhi as born to be the Prime Minister of India. I do not see my job only as to keep the chair warm for Rahul Gandhi. I see my job as meant to address the needs and concerns of the people of India. So long as I sit in this chair, I will do what the people of this country expect me to do in the interest of the nation and not what you expect me to do in the interest of Rahul Gandhi. If you are not prepared to accept this, advise Mrs.Sonia Gandhi to nominate another Prime Minister.
The time to assert yourself has come.
The time to put all your detractors in your Cabinet and your party in their place has come.
The time to protect the integrity and honour of the institution of the Prime Minister of India has come.
The nation looks up to you to act boldly and to lead the people of India instead of being perceived merely as driftwood.
Act, Mr. Prime Minister, act. The people of this country will be behind you.
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . Twitter @SORBONNE75 )