In the case of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, it is important to remember that civility is not a sign of weakness. Throughout his tenure, he has maintained the highest standards of decency and decorum in the face of undue provocation from a biased Opposition. In a coalition set-up, the Prime Minister’s hands are tied. It is in this light that Dr. Singh’s rare remarks must be seen. His outburst against the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate was spontaneous, not intentional or deliberate.

When Atal Bihari Vajpayee handed over Pakistani terrorists to secure the release of the air passengers held hostage in Kandahar, no one called him a weak Prime Minister. When he was forced to reinstate controversial Defence Minister George Fernandes, no one laid that charge upon him. Nor when he was forced by his Deputy Prime Minister not to sack Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister.

Capt. T. Raju (retd.),

Secunderabad

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