I recall seeing him in a plane, traveling economy class. That was many years back. His personal reputation is still in tact.
Already, many columnists of the ‘subtle, poetic, left leaning, liberal, and nuanced’ varieties are extolling the man’s spiritual qualities -how humble he stays amid accusations and mockery, how patient he is, how painstakingly he carried on his agenda of nuclear co-operation with US, (how he risked his government for it) and peace dialogue with Pakistan despite constant provocation, how he doesn’t feel insulted at all, and how is a welcome relief from the chest thumping “PM insulted” variety a la #Modi.
I have problems with that two point agenda of his, but that is not the subject now.
Montek’s brother, who retired recently describes MMS variety of honesty as that of bureaucrat who keeps his table clean, no matter what mess he is surrounded by. I agree with him.
A #Lalu had to resign after the fodder scandal could no longer be swept under carpet, because no one would vouch for his personal integrity. Then a puppet and corrupt regime of his wife followed and it got the boot because things boiled over. (I have no sympathy for Lalu)
But not in case of our honest man. His ‘personal integrity’ is a shield for huge waves of scandals lashing the country even as they started lapping the walls of his office. See this for a ‘good’ compilation (not all are related to the PM). Our honest man has acted as a multiplier. One of the most corrupt, vile, and incompetent (they can’t even implement their game chnger DBT properly) governments in our history is still alive only because this shield.
And this precisely is the problem.