Natwar Singh must go

Natwar Singh’s guilt in the oil-for-food scandal may not be beyond doubt. His unsuitability is.

Paul Volcker’s investigation has pointed fingers at India’s Congress party and Foreign Minister Natwar Singh for having benefited from the infamous ‘oil-for-food’ scam — an international corruption racket. While the legal standing of the Volcker report is uncertain, it is quite obvious that Mr Singh and his Congress party have some explaining to do. Natwar Singh’s instinctive defence — typical of politicians fingered by commissions of inquiry headed by retired Supreme Court judges — is laughable.

“This is obviously part of the continuing campaign to malign the Congress party and its senior leaders and functionaries,” (he) said. [The Calcutta Telegraph]

It is far easier to believe that Natwar Singh and the Congress party had dubious relations with the Saddam Hussein regime that to believe that Paul Volcker has an axe to grind against Indian politicians.

Thanks to the wonderous ways in which the international system works, it is possible for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to remain in office despite his son’s questionable role in the oil-for-food racket. But Natwar Singh cannot escape personal accountability for the questionable role that he and his son are alleged to have played, even if Indian system is no less wonderous.

The Acorn had no questions regarding Natwar Singh’s suitability for the job of foreign minister. He is far too arrogant and dogmatic to hold the job. His long years of experience in the realm of international diplomacy has not quite registered in his on-the-job performance — he put his foot in the mouth too many times. Compared to him, Home Minister Shivraj Patil’s only shortcoming is sheer ineptitude. Neither of the two deserve to remain in Dr Manmohan Singh’s cabinet. But good reasons are not good enough reasons for getting ministers to resign, especially in coalition governments. That requires a nasty cloud of suspicion, the darker and the more odious the better. And the oil-for-food scandal may turn out to be such a cloud. Dr Manmohan Singh will come out smelling of flowers if he were to demand Natwar Singh’s resignation. But there is that little business the Congress party itself, and by association its president Sonia Gandhi, being compromised as well. Now that’s a wild card. But Natwar Singh must still go.

Related Link:S Gurumurthy’s opinion on India and the Volcker report.

19 thoughts on “Natwar Singh must go”

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  5. Mr. Singh and Mr. Patil may be corrupt (nothing new there) and incompetent (three decades of Congress I foreign and internal security policies should have settled that), but they are going nowhere. It is nothing to do with coalition politics. And I am sure there are plenty of competent young Congress I MPs who can do much better jobs as foreign minister and home minister. As you rightly point out, both are Sonia’s picks because they are old dogs of her favorite mother-in-law.

  6. Manmohan Singh has come out smelling of something far less pleasant than flowers, having come out swinging in defense of Nutwar. Jagat Singh has been a shady character and I believe there is something fishy here. Nutwra’s shouting about a conspiracy is laughable. Instead of talking about an investigation, the PM has given Singh a “clean chit”. Hmmm…Madamji would approve, I’m sure.

  7. Couldnt agree with u more on natwars unsuitability for the post in the post cold war era, BTW xcept manmohan & chitambaram I see no exceptionally competant person.

    Your blog is great lot of info & opinions on topics I am interested in.Will be a regular visitor.Keep it up

  8. Entirely agree with you. Short of publishing Natwar’s fingerprints and his DNA analysis, the Volcker report has come out with enough damning evidence. Yet the PM has the temerity to claim that “facts are insufficient”.

  9. Nitin, it is a well known fact that Koffi is worse than even our Indian ministers, even though fingers were clearly pointing to his direction, he decided to stay.

    You are right in saying that Good reasons are not good enough to fire anyone, leave asise a chamcha of Sonia. Should be an interesting battle to watch, hopefully PM Singh can exert some mileage by having Natwar ‘resign’, although I suspect, they will hold a sham inquiry, find nothing is amiss and get Natwar back

    Ujval

  10. Natwar needs to be put on the cross and nailed . He is acting like a innocent
    bubloo. He says he did ti because of patriotism. Congress has started exporting bribery to other countries.

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