Manmohan Vs Advani: A dilemma

An irony with people of India is they do not differentiate between a leader and a politician. They term all politicians (including petty and the casteist) as leaders. Ideally a leader ought to be a person with strong core values and integrity. It should be his endeavour to lead his people in a way that ensures their prosperity and makes them stronger with time. He has to lead by example and never exploit the situation as a politician would do. Resorting to populism or playing to the gallery is not the hallmark of a leader while every politician would swear by these tactics.

Recently, L K Advani reportedly urged / challenged Manmohan Singh to a one to one debate. The offer probably stands turned down by the PM. Some said that there was no such precedent in the Indian system while some others plainly laughed it off. If precedents were not there what is wrong with setting up one? Leadership is all about exploring new ways and means. Why then shirk an opportunity to inject something fresh and lively into our democracy?

The reason probably lies with Manmohan Singh’s strengths. He is neither a leader nor a politician but only an economist who was hand-picked as the CEO to manage the affairs of India Inc. – a job he has performed very well over the past five years or so given the system and circumstances. Advani on the other hand is a crusader and has in him the material that makes a leader.

For me it has to be either of the two. Both have impeccable integrity and unwavering commitment to the country. However, in order to make my choice I find two major areas of concern today:

1) the economy in recession, and
2) threats to security of the country. Both need priority attention and quick treatment.

Manmohan Singh can certainly steer Indian economy out of the woods but on the security front I doubt his capabilities. Advani undoubtedly would ensure security of the nation but he may not be that adept at the tight rope walk on the economy front line. I, therefore, continue to ponder.

Not that I haven’t considered the third and the fourth fronts but I think India can’t afford to have so many Prime Ministers and short listing them on the above two parameters would not be easy.