Wag the talk - Deciphering what the PM could have meant

Manmohan Singh did talk at the press conference forenoon, but he did not say much

bvrao

BV Rao | May 25, 2010


Read my lips!
Read my lips!

When a prime minister talks, a nation listens. That’s what happened earlier today when Manmohan Singh addressed his first press conference in four years. But because prime ministers say so little, as did Manmohan this morning, it is what they don’t say that makes better news than what they say. And it is what they mean that makes better sense than what they say.

So, here’s a list of what Manmohan said (in bold typeface) and what he must have meant:

Inflation will be down to five or six percent by December.
Until then, eat a little less. Anyway, obesity is becoming a national problem.

It is not right to say the government has underestimated the Naxalite problem.                
It’s just that we overestimated ourselves.

Terrorism has no religion.
We don’t know which god to pray to!

We are willing to discuss all issues with Pakistan. We need good ties with our neighbours.
I already have many good suits for the Nobel Peace ceremony.

We need to reduce the India-Pakistan gap.
Must sit closer to Gilani next time.

Our government has zero tolerance towards human rights violations.
Don’t even bring it up here. I can’t tolerate it.

If we come to know there is corruption at any level, we will take action.
I know of no corruption at any level.

Not appropriate to judge (the performance of) my own government.
That’s Sonia Gandhi’s job. (Mutters to himself) Why do these idiots keep asking me?

I am accountable (on corruption) to parliament.
Maybe there’s very little in that account. (Reminder to himself): Must top up this account.

There’s a trust deficit with Pakistan.
I know only to deal with fiscal deficit.

If anything concrete comes to the government’s notice (on illegal mining in Orissa) we will take action.
They're mining iron ore there, not concrete.

Yes, water is going to be a major issue (between states).
But don’t worry, the pace at which water is disappearing, we are sure the problem won’t last long.

The CBI is an autonomous body.
(Chuckles to himself.)

I am fortunate I have the benefit of Sonia Gandhi’s advice. We meet almost every week to discuss important decisions.
Once in a while, like Sharm al Sheikh, she even lets me draft letters and doesn't mind if I make mistakes!

The National Advisory Council is not a super cabinet.
It is THE cabinet!

I discussed all allegations with A Raja. He told me he just followed the recommendations of the TRAI.
And Kalaignar Karunanidhi told me that we should not disbelieve a Dalit. I have to trust Kalaignar because there is another deficit to deal with: deficit of MPs.

Rahul Gandhi is good enough to be a minister in my cabinet any time.
Rahul Gandhi is not fit to be prime minister.

I have been given a job to do. I am not thinking of retirement before finishing it.
For four more years, just four more years, I hope Soniaji continues to think Rahul Baba needs some more growing up.

Fortunately, Sonia-ji and my wife advise me on different subjects.
(He really meant this.)

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