Manmohan Singh

Yahoo! India NewsNovember 23, 2012

Once known as a reformist who opened up the gates of India's economy to the world is today being dubbed by critics and his adversaries as an underperformer.

Manmohan Singh, who turned 80 this year, has earned his place in history as the man who propelled India onto the road of rapid growth but recently his image has taken a beating after his re-election as the prime minister for a second term when a British daily termed him 'India's saviour or Sonia's poodle?'

The Time magazine featured him on the cover with the blurb: "The Underachiever. India needs a reboot. Is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh up to the job?" After this the Prime Minister's Office rapped Washington Post journalist Simon Denyer for his article that called Manmohan Singh a 'tragic figure'.

By then the prime minister had become a butt of jokes among his critics and his ratings had hit rock bottom with credit rating agencies downgrading India's growth prospect to negative. The Opposition and the media had hounded him with accusations of corruption and policy paralysis, calling him an inefficient leader who had lost the capacity to lead the nation.

So what does the cornered PM do? He did what he does best. Manmohan Singh and Co launched a blitz of reforms to revive the sagging economy. What stood out this time was that Manmohan Singh was not bothered by veiled threats from the UPA's coalition partners. He rolled out FDI in retail and aviation, and some more economic policies that were not populist.

These reforms were a shot in the arm to recover his image reformist zeal with The Economic Times proclaiming that the prime minister got his 'mojo back'.

But were these real reforms or they were just some decisions that were the need of the hour? What was the government doing for the last seven years where it had many opportunities to mend the falling economy and curb rising inflation? The answer - they were busy pacifying their allies who think of nothing but populist policies to garner votes.

So it is up to you to decide if Manmohan Singh has lost his 'mojo' or regained it.