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Manmohan Singh as a New Indian PM

24 May, 2004

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Manmohan Singh, India's first Sikh prime minister, says he wants to push the peace process with Pakistan and friction should be "a thing of the past".

The 71-year-old Singh, who as finance minister unleashed the country's seminal economic reforms in 1991.The new leader pledged to continue economic reforms with what he described as a human face.

A visibly relaxed Sonia Gandhi, who had to face tremendous opposition from her party over her unexpected refusal to take up the prime minister's post, added: "I think our country will be safe in Manmohan Singh's hands and i will continue as Congress president."

1- Why do you think Mrs. Sonia Gandhi refused to become the PM Of India?

2- Do you think as a (Minority) Sikh PM, He would be in stronger position to take bold decisions for the continuation of peace process between India and P Pakistan ?

Reader Comments:

1- It is suspected that Sonia Gandhi has some more refined objectives than to premiership. it can be thought she is under the stress of Rome Raj...! I am sorry to those who just study the Course Syllabus of Political Science and believe India as the biggest Democracy. In the presence of Defense Establishment which kinna Democracy?? As in Pakistan?? !!

2- Mr Manmohan Singh is not defined or refined but confined to premiership. Defense Establishment of India seems pretty active at the instance and so Objectives, Goals and Milestones wont be set by Mr Manmohan Singh, rather the defense establishment is in decisive position saving India from Rome Raj and Ram Raj cult

ahmad bilal, Pakistan - 24 May, 2004


To me it has rather come as a surprise when you fight all year to win elections as a leader of a major political party and once you finally win the elections, then you decide to not to become PM.
There has to be some hidden aspect behind her refusal, which may come to limelight in next Indian elections.

Secondly, I doubt if Mr. Singh would go an extra mile to resolve the disputes between Pakistan and India. If he does, then he'll be eaily dub as traitor by the Hindu Fanatics in India, so the chances of progressive peace process will be on a snail pace. The recent request by Indian authorities to postpone nuclear talks is just a glimpse of what is coming ahead!

, Pakistan - 24 May, 2004

Indians are making their parliament (institution) stronger after every succeeding elections while in Pakistan we are still making Pakistan Army stronger and stronger. Losing of elections by ruling party in India is a punch on the face of sham democracy of Pakistan.

Sunny, Pakistan - 24 May, 2004

Indian is a great nation who has a Muslim and Sikh (both minorities) as their President and Prime Minister respectively. In Pakistan we are killing minorities systematically, Christians and Shia muslims.

Osama, Pakistan - 24 May, 2004

Sonia's Refusal

That was a right thing to do.

Sardar A Tahirkheli, Pakistan - 24 May, 2004

Manmohan As PM.

In the Indian set up, no PM, in near future, will ever be able to take strong & difficult decisions.

Sardar A tahirkheli, Pakistan - 24 May, 2004

As an Indian, I am very glad to see such positive responses from Pakistan, especailly on our democracy. Usually some of the Pak. media refers to it within quotes, or call it as "so-called democracy". Of course, we do have some issues with our democracy. There are many times, when the "rule of law" does not rule. I can only hope for the best of my country, and wish peace and prosperity not just on my land, but on our neighbours too.

Sripriya, Hungary - 24 May, 2004

indian prime minister

It is encouraging and intersting that the first time a sikh become prime minister,but the question is wheather he will have the real premier authority or just a rubber stamp?
Congress party ruled India for almost 45 years but the progress they have made is not so impressive,India the largest exporter of microsoft and hardware only 2 percent of total population has an access to the internet.Out of one billion population 650 millions are living in poverty and still waiting for a leader to provide the basic facilities such as clean water,housing,education,etc.
Unfortunately,India and Pakistan never had honest and qualified leaders,however,it is too early to make speculation but Mr,Singh.
I rather support someone who is more young and energetic,meet the demands and requirements of 21st century.
Zulfikar A Tanoli

zulfikar a tanoli, Pakistan - 24 May, 2004

Realistic Talk

Sonia Gandhi's refusal to accept the post of Prime Minister of India can be explained in very extreme terms like failure of Indian democracy, victory of Hindu fundamentalism, or racist Indian attitudes. It can also be explained in the following relatively benign terms:

1. As mature as Indian democracy is it is still not so mature that it would accept a person of foreign birth, foreign race and foreign religion as the first citizen of the nation.

2. In a nation of one billion people, it is not impossible to find one idiot who could have wanted to cause serious harm to Mrs Gandhi if she became the prime minister. Having personally suffered so much violence in her life, Mrs Gandhi decided not to take a chance. If I were her close friend or well wisher, I would have advised her to stayed away from this danger also. So often, when we discuss public figure, we completely forget their humanity. Perhaps Mrs Gandhi's children and other close well wishers saw this possibility and advised her to stay away.

3. Mrs Gandhi is intelligent. Instead of political pundits who throw their rhetorics around, Mrs Gandhi migt have realized that by becoming the Prime Minister, she will subject India people to a test that almost no other people in the world have been subjected to -- that of legally being ruled by a person of foreign birth and race. Perhaps she realized that she would not like a Hindu of asian race and birth to be the Prime Minister of Italy.

4. Possibly she thought that the victory of her party was at best marginal. If 15 parliamentary seats had swung the other way, it would have been the opposition government. Thus, she did not have the mandate. It is quite possible that she calculated that after 2 years of Dr. Singh's government congress can call a mis term election and come back with a mandate of an absolute majority.

Let us live with simple realistic explanations instead of making extreme generalizations.

N Bhatnagar

N Bhatnagar, United Kingdom - 25 May, 2004

Reply to Mr Tinoli?

Mr Tinoli: You seems to be highly unrealistic and unreasonalbe in your comment below. Responding your points one by one. 1) Encourging for you that First Time Sikh PM : Why it is encouraging for you, are you a Sikh? or miniority of India? You broke Pakistan into two and not given the power to elected Mujeeb from Bangladesh 2) Rubber Stamp : Please look at your own history of Pakistan Jamali, Nawaz, Junejo etc all were rubber stamps - none in India 3) No Progress under 45 Years of Congress Rule : You must revisit your own history, after every 4 to 5 years Pakistan comes to a point of collapse and your General President admit the failures in every speech, even yestereday's speech he admitted the four issues Pakistan is facing are equal to your foriegn policy and military failures. Your military general President is afraid of USA he said yesterday not his ALLAH. Have you ever seen any Indian leaders uttering those words - shame on you 4) India & Pakistan never had honest and qualified leaders ? : Please do not compare India with Pakistan ; Manmohan Singha like Chinese' Deng has put India on the road to Progress and Indians know it 5) You prefer Young and Energetic than Manmohan Singha? : Indians don't want - who cares what you prefer and what you don't - mind your own business.

Dilbar Singh, Hungary - 25 May, 2004

The propaganda the media portrayed as a 'sacrifice' is a calculated political move and a ploy. Manmohan Singh is like a puppet in Sonia's hands. Other candidates were not as docile. She can shape him like a putty. If sentiments of Sikhs were a factor, Tytler and Sajjan - known anti sikh criminals should not be chosen for offices. It is a big hypocisy. She killed two birds with one stone. She was able to appease the sikhs with this cosmetic appointment and kept arch rivals and powers within the party at bay.

kaurasach, Pakistan - 25 May, 2004

Singh prime minister

Referring to the comments of Mr,Dilbar Singh,gentleman I believe that leaders of congress party have said repeatdly that "Sonia" will hold the real power.Which is why, out of couristy I ponited out that will Mr singh have a real authority to govern the country or acting upon sonia's advise?
In political language the prime minister or head of the state who do not have a real power called "rubber stamp".
Secondly,I did say that the lack of leadership in India and Pakistan is a major problem,but you seem very emotional not rational which I understand.
Thirdly,you should understand and admit that because of unskilled leadership, these two coutries are facing massive problems,one of colleague(from India)here in United states said the Some CMs from congress do not even know how to write down their name.
More importantly your comments regarding Pakistan are very strange and awkward, however I am not going to retialiate, If I do so,then ther will be no difference between me and you.
Just for the record Pakistan's image on international level is more then good and I expect the same for India because at the end of day poor people will have an oppertunity to take advantage.
Zulfikar A Tanoli
United States of America

zulfikar A Tanoli, Pakistan - 25 May, 2004

"It is the verdict of the people. Everyone is watching India. We are highly visible. It is good to know that democracy is so vibrant in India. Sonia Gandhi brought Congress to power. She worked for the party and won. Nowhere in the world has a foreigner been the head of a country. And if she had become the leader of the country, the Constitution would have to be changed. I have met Manmohan Singh and he is a man of principles. With all the corruption in India, it is wonderful to know that a man like Singh has been chosen to lead the country."

Anna Parasad, United Kingdom - 26 May, 2004

Nothig will change with new leadership.

We have seen a change of Government in India democratic way and we must congratulate them for respacting the rules of democracy. If it would be Pakistan then the poltical leadership of the government must have kidnaped few members to change the decision but Indian leadership is more mature and more faithful with its institutions.What happend with Sonia was not democratic and this shows that India is still ruled by religious,extrimist thugs from Hindu fundamentalist groups. She was elected leader and she should have been the Prime Minister but it did not happen because of threat from Hindu groups and she had no choice but to surrender her leadership. She did pretty good to take a revenge from these groups by giving a job to Sikh leader. She knows very well what her mother in law did to Sikhs in Golden Temple and later on the killings and burning of Sikhs was horrible crime committed by Hindu groups. She has become a darling of India by renouncing her post as a Prime Minister but she will be still controlling the Government. She will wait until her son and daughter are able to take over the Neru dynasty.Mr Mommohan Sing will be a toy between Sonia Gandhi and Hindu extrimist groups and defense establishment. It is good that their is better representation of muslims in Government but this representation is just a show for muslim votes.I d,ont think that the government will be able to solve the Kashmir issue are progress the issue towards some kind of settlement. The situation will be still the same. The Hindu mentality has to change before any solution can be acheived by all three groups.The Hindu group will still dominate the India politics like before ,Congress or BJP they are all the same so d,ont expect any progress until the Indians are themselves tired of Kashmir and start a serious dialogue. Ram Raj is still there although Masharaff Government is hopimg for miricales but it w,ont happen. The people of Kashmir will be suffering the same way. We pray to God for help,keep our peaceful and legal struggle for the freedom of Kashmir and hope that one day India will realize that Kasdhmir issue have to be resolved before any peace can come in this area.
Raja.Muhammad habib Jalib
chiarman Jammu& Kashmir Human Rights Council Intrenational Wing.

Raja Muhammad Habib Jalib, Canada - 26 May, 2004

I believe that the issue of Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin was a personal one — an issue of emotional national pride vis-a-vis rational thinking — but all the parties took it politically. On the one hand, you had the NDA's shrill declaration of boycotting the swearing-in ceremony and Sushma Swaraj's and Uma Bharti's histrionics, on the other were the Congress sycophants whipping up a melodrama. There was not a single rational NDA member who supported Sonia's candidature, and subsequently not a single Congress person who congratulated her on her admirable decision of relinquishing the prime ministership.

Nitesh Jain, Hungary - 27 May, 2004

One has to get convinced with what Mr Habib Jalib expressed in his comments that national longterm policies in developed/power holding countries are directed by power groups other than the political thumbs. They can be Think tanks as in case of America and in case of India or Pakistan, military rule is quite a power abnegating all other 'might be power groups'. And they cannot let Manmohan Singh do what his heart wishes. One can expect miraculous HINDU hand to Muslim Friendship from BJP in India under Military beaucracy...!!!

ahmad bilal, Pakistan - 27 May, 2004

Lesson Learned

From Sonia Gandhi's decision we have learned that minorities are respectful as majority but unfortunately minorities in Pakistan are living under fear especially under Blasphemy Law.

Zahir Gill, Canada - 27 May, 2004

India and Sonia gandhi

Sonia gandhi was notdiscrimated in any way.Her foriegn origin became an issue because the NDA wanted to go an extra mile in defaming congress and thats about it.India is synonimous with secularism and every one is of the same status.Ofcourse there are some idiotic organistaions like the Shiv sena and other religious organisations which defame india's reputation in the world. what the world see's in its new papers is not entirely true and there is no wide spread dicrimination in india.These take place on political will not by the peoples will.

chaitanya, Hungary - 29 May, 2004

Blasphemy Law in Pakistan.

I was surprised to know that MR Gill thinks that Blasphemy Law is brutal in Pakistan and the other religious institutions are mistreated. Well, my friend it is not true. there are these kind of laws all around the World but the difference is usually that they come under different names. For example ,in Canada we have specil laws which prohabit the insulting words about other religions. The same is true about hate literature to offend any group. The freedom does not mean that you disgrace another religion and that is what we do in Canada, we d,ont defame the other religions,whether it is Islam ,christain or jews or hindus. That is why we have a very peaceful enviornment here.So if you have blasphemy law in Pakistan then respact the law,nobady is putting you in jail for your beliefs. This is just a propioganda against the law just to create fear. Islamic law respacts the holy prophats including Prophat Muhammad PBUH and the Juses Christ and other Prophats so be respectful and this will bring peace and harmoney. The idea of these laws in to create piece among the society which is benificial for every society. Think if you are in India and you abuse Lord Krishna, what will happen to you, you will not get a chance to reach Court ,same story in Pakistan and same stories around the World. The punishment is little different.

Raja Muhammad habib Jalib, Canada - 29 May, 2004

Mr Ahmed Balil keep up the good work,your comments are right and it truly represent the the smart people like you ,who know India that this country will never change until the extreme hindu mentality does not change. the friendship happens with people but when people fallow like Bal Thakerai of Shiv Cina then peace is a dream.
Raja habib Jalib

Raja Habib Jalib, Cape Verde - 29 May, 2004

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