The lengthy interaction that the Prime Minister had with news editors days before the Budget session of the Parliament, over various scams and issues showed that he is committed to correcting the existing situation.

Manmohan Singh is a rare politician with a clean image. He has spent most of his life as an economist. His entry into politics occurred with a view that he would be better positioned to improve the conditions in the country. He has proved himself also. Paeans are sung till today about the economic reforms he launched as Finance Minister under PM Narsimha Rao. Current economic policies are a legacy of his reforms.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi chose him as PM recognising his capabilities and honest image. He still has the support of Gandhi but appears helpless now. He has failed in controlling corrupt elements and reigning in scams. He has even admitted to the fact.

His frustration at the involvement of the administrative machinery in numerous scams is natural, but not enough. When the 2G allocation spectrum scam came to light, Congress and the Central government tried to brush it under the carpet but when they realized that things were getting out of hand, they agreed to the opposition’s demand of forming a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe it.

Not only that, the PM himself came forward to offer explanation on 2G but he doesn’t yet seem to be accepting the truth about it. The way he took refuge in coalition politics sent a message to the public that if an allied government has to function then some compromises will have to be made. Why is it so?

It is difficult for the common man to understand why Singh, himself an example of an honest politician, is helpless in controlling corruption.

Earlier he claimed that running a coalition government is a challenge in itself, but we have seen such governments in the past as well. Another question is that is it more important to tackle corruption or remain in power? PM’s excuse that if compromise is not reached in a coalition then there would be elections every six months cannot be accepted.

This era is of allied politics and if the PM’s statement that smaller parties exert pressure on national parties for more influence is true then the situation is worrisome. Such circumstances should be dealt with immediately. There must be adequate rules and regulations to govern coalition politics so that governments are stable and allies don’t have a free hand. If there is need for a constitutional amendment for the same, then that should be undertaken too.

PM himself must feel the crying need to frame such rules and regulations as he has admitted that compromises need to be made in a coalition government. Will he take an initiative in this regard or keep facing the pitfalls of coalition politics?

Such an initiative should also be shouldered by the opposition, especially the BJP, apart from the ruling party. BJP can’t claim it was not under any pressure during the NDA tenure. Despite knowing the reality of a coalition government it has only engaged in politics over scams. It is merely trying to score political points by creating pressure on the government, proving that it is corrupt. Can it guarantee that the states governed by it are free of corruption?

If it could get a chance of forming government at the Centre in future and it would face problems similar to the Congress. Under these conditions, it would benefit both the national parties to make efforts to bring coalition politics under the purview of certain laws.

It should be remembered that because of the existing design of coalition politics, many-a burning issue are not being sorted out, with allies becoming roadblocks in the path to solutions. Social, economic and political reforms are stuck because of such political parties.

The relationship between the Congress and BJP is also a reason that major problems before the nation are not being solved. Both can find common grounds on many matters but that never happens. BJP has tried to draw the attention of the Congress on many issues and even offered to cooperate on them but the latter displays an attitude which suggests it can tackle all the problems of the country alone. It should reconsider this approach. If the situation is getting out of control then majority of the blame lies with Congress.

Corruption is not a new problem. The truth is that many scams like 2G could be buried deep in government files. There is hardly any government scheme that does not become victim of scams but there is no concrete measure being taken to overhaul the system.

Despite the PM’s assurance, one can’t trust that he will be able to formulate a strategy to stop scams and irregularities. It would have been much better if he had displayed the same courage that he showed in presenting himself before the media in taking forward political reforms to free the country of corruption. Opposition should extend its support to any such initiative of the prime minister as he cannot fight corruption alone nor can the government do that. It is an evil which has to be fought together.