Dr Manmohan Singh has in a televised meeting with children said about himself:
“I am an aam admi“.
I am afraid this caused me to say at Facebook today:
Subroto Roy finds disconcerting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s claim of being himself “a common man”.
In “Rajiv Gandhi and the Origins of India’s 1991 Economic Reform”, I wrote about my encounter with Rajiv:
“I said the public sector’s wastefulness had drained scarce resources that should have gone instead to provide public goods. Since the public sector was owned by the public, it could be privatised by giving away its shares to the public, preferably to panchayats of the poorest villages. The shares would become tradable, drawing out black money, and inducing a historic redistribution of wealth while at the same time achieving greater efficiency by transferring the public sector to private hands. Rajiv seemed to like that idea too, and said he tried to follow a maxim of Indira Gandhi’s that every policy should be seen in terms of how it affected the common man. I wryly said the common man often spent away his money on alcohol, to which he said at once it might be better to think of the common woman instead. (This remark of Rajiv’s may have influenced the “aam admi” slogan of the 2004 election, as all Congress Lok Sabha MPs of the previous Parliament came to receive a previous version of the present narrative.)”
I am afraid I do not think Dr Singh was whom Rajiv or Indira had in mind in speaking of the common man.