There is no point in going into numerous scams of the UPA-era, as we know that WE THE PEOPLE reduced Congress to just 44 seats (with their lowest ever 19.5% vote share) in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, probably because of the scams more than anything else.
What I would rather delve on here are some of the non-scam disasters of the Sonia-led UPA era, and there are several.
Never before had our armed forces been so weakened. They were not modernised as they should have been in a 10-year period when our economy was doing reasonably well. They were not provided with crucial ammunition or replenishments. Many senior former Army officers have disclosed that we barely have ammunition to last 10 days in the event of a war.
On the diplomatic front, we were not able to counter Pakistan properly in world forums.
The world perception of India was extremely negative. Never since 1992 did I feel as looked down upon (as an Indian), either at foreign airports, or on flights (where I have many conversations), or while interacting with foreigners at other places, as I did between 2010 and 2014.
Things had changed for the better after the 1991-92 reforms under PM PV Narasimha Rao and the 1998-2004 reforms under PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but things turned for the worse after UPA-2 came into power. Corruption and inefficiency were what we were known for, especially after huge global news coverage of the CWG fiasco.
Never did I feel so disillusioned with an Indian PM since Deve Gowda or IK Gujral (I was too young during the Morarji – Charan Singh era) as I was with Dr Manmohan Singh.
There was a joke I heard in USA in 2005 or 2006 (can’t recall the exact year) at a bar, about a Limousine being pulled up by a traffic sergeant in New York City during the UN General Assembly sessions, for crossing a red light. When the driver rolled down his tainted glass window and the cop looked inside the car, he didn’t know what to do, so he spoke on walkie-talkie to the police com, asking to be immediately connected to the Commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD), as it was an “emergency”.
When the Commissioner came on the line, the “scared” Sergeant said: “Sir, by mistake, I have pulled up a VVIP” and it may become world news. “Who is it, POTUS?” the Commissioner replied. “No sir, someone maybe more important than him,” replied the now very scared sergeant. “The only person on earth more important than POTUS could be the Pope, and he is certainly not attending the UNGA,” the Commissioner said, obviously in an irritated tone, “Are you drunk on duty, Officer?”
“No Sir, I am sorry, I don’t know who she is, but the Indian Prime Minister with the turban is driving her Limo,” the sergeant replied. Was there anything more shameful that an Indian could hear from Americans?
Having a decent wit and presence of mind, I told the Americans: “You can never understand how tolerant we Indians are. We are a democracy with almost 80% Hindu population, a Muslim President (Dr. Kalam), a Sikh PM, a Communist Speaker of the House (Somnath Chatterjee), and an Italian Roman Catholic empress of India.” I won over many American admirers that night.
Did you know that, at the end of the UPA-era, India had as many as 5,79,092 people categorised as VIPs or VVIPs, or 2298 times the number in USA, though our population is just four times more, and 1331 times that in China, whose population is still higher than ours?