Arun Jaitley was on Barkha Dutt’s show on NDTV last night. Like a good lawyer, he smooth talked his way through her questions. Barkha is normally quite aggressive and pushy, but with Jaitley she was mild. She was happy to let Jaitley get away with easy answers – answers that were at best half truths, if not blatantly untruthful.
So when asked if there was any evidence – any money trail – at all for the “mota maal” that his colleague Sushma Swaraj had referred to, Jaitley’s answer – with all the melodramatic facial expressions he could conjure up – was that “there were more than whispers”. Excuse me….now what exactly does that mean? In plain English, it means that there is no evidence. Has Jaitley ever used such language in the courts? Jaitley then said that the best witnesses in this matter were those applicants who were not allotted the mines. Good point, but again he left it at just that. What did these failed applicants say? Did they point to some money trail anywhere? Did they have even an iota of evidence that someone had made money? Nothing at all. So on the back of whispers (which in simple English means: lies), we are supposed to trust the word of the Leader of the Opposition in the LS? Besides, no where has even the politicized CAG mentioned that someone made money. The CBI is still investigating if there are any deals that didn’t cut the grade for allotments. But Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley have whispers to go by!
Though Jaitley wasn’t asked the question, other BJP leaders had already deflected the charge that BJP politicians had made money from the mining scam in Karnataka mining scam: Even in Karnataka apparently, money was paid to the Congress. Next we will be told that Yeddy is really a Congress leader masquerading as a BJP saint. This is the classic “cart before the horse” thingy…..the conclusion is arrived at before the facts are presented!
When asked about the BJP CM’s letters of recommendations not to implement auctions, Jaitley said “every CM will pitch for allocations to his/her state, but major minerals are in the hands of the center and it alone decides the policy”. So basically, Jaitley said that the center should have ignored the CMs! When asked how this matter was different from NCTC where the BJP said its CMs should not only have been heard, but their opinions also followed, Jaitley said “that’s a different matter. Law & Order is a state subject”. When pointed out that terrorism is not a state subject, he skirted the issue and moved on! Lies and half truths!
When Barkha asked him why his own party failed to even think – forget implement – of coal auctions, Jaitley said “prior to 2004, coal block allocations were only to the public sector and that coal prices were very low”. But again, he would be saying only a half truth. Because his government not only continued with coal allocations, it also wanted to extend it to all private companies. So his argument about the public sector is a lie. The point about the coal price is also a half truth at best since the coal prices did not shoot up immediately after the UPA took over…..and yet the UPA thought of coal auctions. The BJP failed to do even that!
When asked why they were holding up Parliament, Jaitley said that by holding up Parliament, they were able to get 2G, 3G, etc cleaned up. Now as is well known, the government was forced to do auctions by the SC. So Jaitley’s point basically is that unless the BJP had held up the LS for a full session, India’s SC would not have passed its orders? So the SC looks at what Jaitley’s party does in Parliament to decide what to do and what orders to pass? Taking credit where it is not due seems to be a genetic code that seeps through all BJP folks! A lie or a half truth Mr. Jaitley?
When asked about how Godhra had stained the party’s credentials, Jaitley simply refused to answer that question by preferring instead to talk about the development of the state. Of course, the anchor was ill informed about Gujarat’s real developmental record….that it predated Modi….so she let him off the hook. Barkha also failed to ask Jaitley why there was so much malnutrition (caused by poverty) in Gujarat when Modi was claiming that there was so much progress. When asked if the Naroda verdict was not an indictment of his government, he refused without giving a reason. Just like that. No, its not an indictment of my government. But why dear Mr. Jaitley? The arrest of an ex BJP Minister is not an example of the communal nature of his government, but Kalmadi’s arrest is an example of corruption in the party. Nice try but not even a half-truth!
When asked about the leadership struggle in his party, he preferred to see it as “a galaxy of stars” emerging from “an organization structure”, and quickly deflected the glaze away by “we are not a family structure in which the leader is unquestioned”. Answer questions about your own party Mr. Jaitley….not about your rival!
When asked about why the BJP was not moving a no-confidence vote, Jaitley was unfazed in admitting that he did not have the numbers. And rather than acknowledging that others did not approve of their methods, he preferred to see it as “Congress’s ability to manipulate members by using CBI”. Mr. Jaitley should know that the same CBI – under no instructions from anybody (not even any judicial authority) – is probing the coal mining matter against a Central minister Subodh Kant Sahay. So really….Jaitley is accusing all opposition MPs of being hand in glove with the Congress. Jaitley also jumped to the conclusion that the Congress has lost the support of the people if not of the MPs…..as if that meant his party has won the support of the people. How do you make such statements Mr Jaitley?
On CAG, Jaitley had no worries about saying that all CAG reports are not the same. Apparently, some (the ones on his state governments I presume) only point to some weaknesses, but others (those that indict the Congress) point to corruption or such things. So he excuses all his governments from charges of the CAG!
The real truth is that the BJP is spreading disinformation by speaking lies and half truths. It’s a matter of time before it gets exposed….