Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CBI singes both Congress and BJP….

On a day when the CBI filed charges against Vijay Darda, a Congress Rajya Sabha MP, it also did the same against the BJP’s Amit Shah, “very close” confidante of Narendra Modi in the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case (Prajapati was a witness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case).

Coming to the case against Darda, I think it’s a positive move and in line with what I would expect should be done in all such cases. Here is a company that has apparently misrepresented facts in order to acquire coal blocks. It allegedly failed to disclose vital information which may have jeopardized its chances of getting the blocks. If proven right, it amounts to a fraud and perhaps more. Clearly, the CBI must prosecute Mr. Darda and others and if proved right, the government must scrap the coal block allocations as it has been saying it will do. Ditto with the others that the CBI has filed FIRs against so far and will do so in the future too. There should be no politics in this.

The CBI’s actions also show that the “scam” in the coal allocations is much smaller than the BJP claims it to be. Yes, there are the rogue elements in politics who have made it their business to enrich themselves and fill up their own coffers. Such elements are present in all political parties. Such elements may join any party since they have no ideology as such; but they typically have friends in all of them. Vijay Darda was most recently in the news for calling Narendra Modi “a tiger” at a function in which he shared the dais with Modi. The other accused – the Jayaswals – are also known to be close to both Congress and BJP leaders. And finally, Vijay Joshi who acquired the company Vini Iron and Steel from the original promoter is a close associate of Madhu Koda, the imprisoned ex-CM of Jharkhand who has flirted with both the Congress and BJP in his political career.

Canceling allotments made to those who have committed frauds is justified, but cancelling allotments en masse is crazy. Every industry association has railed against it. Thankfully, the government has budged on it so far.

The CBI has also filed charges against Amit Shah, former Minister of State for Home and very close confidante of Narendra Modi. The noose surely appears to be tightening around Modi, first with Maya Kodnani’s guilty verdict and now with Amit Shah’s chargesheet. While Modi may claim that he hasn’t himself been accused directly in any case (in fact the SIT let him off), the writing on the wall is clear. More and more of Modi’s confidantes are facing the heat. Knowing Modi’s style of governance (he’s known to be “authoratitive” – a euphemism for taking the calls himself and not delegating much), it is extremely unlikely that Amit Shah or Maya Kodnani were involved “on their own”. Modi’s role may never be proved, but as Professor Bandukwalla, a victim of the Godhra riots and a regular on TV shows says “History will judge Modi”.

What is clear from both stories is that all of politics stinks. It is not just one party or the other, but all of them who have made compromises and have done things they shouldn’t have done. If its mass murders, both the Congress and BJP are guilty (of 1984 and 2002 respectively). If we talk about corruption, both the Congress and the BJP are guilty of it (that explains why both parties have a near similar score on “who is more corrupt” in the NDTV poll – 54% feel the Congress and 46% the BJP). When it comes to blocking Parliament, both the Congress and the BJP are guilty. When it comes to poor governance, both the Congress and the BJP are equally guilty (everything the BJP accuses the Congress of, it failed to achieve in its own period of rule). There really is not much to choose between the two.

But the BJP still tries to paint itself as being better than the others. Unfortunately in today’s days of media activism, it fails to cut ice. That’s probably why the party is shown to gain only 27 seats in the NDTV poll even when the Congress is on a precipitous slide down losing 79 seats.

The real truth is that both national parties are out of favor with the voters. Both are similar, if not identical in character. The party with a difference is hardly so. The Grand Old Party is looking very old indeed. Its time both of them shake themselves up….else the voters will do that for them!

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