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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 31 New Delhi July 25, 2015

Naked Display of Haughtiness and Arrogance

Sunday 26 July 2015, by SC



As one watches the Opposition blockade of Parliament for three successive days demanding that the External Affairs Minister and the CMs of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh first tender their resignations from the posts they are currently holding as a prelude to a thorough investigation into the scams relating to Lalitgate and Vyapam before any worthwhile discussion on the issues involved can be held, one cannot but refer to the prognosis made in these columns precisely a fortnight ago (that is, July 9—published in this journal’s July 11, 2015 issue) :

The VVIPs on the dock in Lalitgate (Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje) and Vyapam scam (Shivraj Singh Chouhan) have, by all indications, decided to brazen out the Opposition onslaught even if that means a washout of the monsoon session of Parliament. As noted progressive film-maker Anand Patwardhan, an arch opponent of saffronisation of the society by the majoritarian communalists, has emphasised,

“This is not Congress rule where despite massive corruption, the government was somewhat vulnerable to public pressure.

“The Sangh Parivar’s made of different mettle. As you can gauge from the Vasundhara Raje and Sushma Swaraj episodes, they have decided to brazen out anything and everything, no matter what the consequences.”

If one dispassionately analyses the events of the last few days it becomes abundently clear that the crisis in Parliament’s functioning has its origins in the attitude of the ruling dispensation.

Those occupying the Treasurey Benches are doing their best to mislead public opinion and sections of the media, both electronic and print, have fallen prey to such attempts.

However, the BJP leaders are underestimating the intelligence of the people at large; they are not so naive as not to see through the game even if important and articulate Cabinet Ministers have been pressed into service for the purpose. The scale of corruption linked to Lalitgate and Vyapam is not comparable with those incidents of corruption the BJP leaders are seeking to unravel in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

The fact is that since the ruling dispensation came to power in May 2014 it has not been so beleaguered as it is today. This should have compelled it to display humility as the UPA II Government had done in the wake of the mega scams that surfaced during its tenure. Instead it is still riding the high horse of infallibility. The absolute majority it won at the hustings last year has made the BJP-led NDA so dizzy with success that it is unable to realise how badly it is hurting itself and its future by its show of haughtiness and arrogance.

This is also reflected not only in the PM’s silence on Lalitgate and Vyapam but also in the assault on outstanding human rights crusaders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand who worked tirelessly in defence of the victims of the 2002 Gujarat carnage. As is now known, 16 CBI officials landed at their residence in Mumbai to raid it in a case of fabricated FCRA violations. (At the same time precious little is being done by the CBI to bring the killers in the Vyapam case to book.)

Not for long can Modi and his team enjoy the luxury of having the cake and eating it too.

July 23 S.C.

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