Dethrone UPA Scamsters, Unmask NDA Pretenders – Intensify the Battle against Corruption

With Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee formally distancing himself from the March 25, 2011 note sent by his ministry holding former FM P Chidambaram responsible for not stopping the 2G scam, Chidambaram has described the whole thing as a closed chapter. But the Finance Ministry note and Pranab Mukherjee’s subsequent clarification has not only made Chidambaram’s culpability clear but also exposed the complicity of the entire government in the scam as well as in all the ugly cover-up bids that have followed. Pranab Mukherjee has described his ministry’s note as nothing short of an inter-ministerial background paper based on inputs from the law ministry as well as the PMO even though he says he does not agree to all the inferences contained in the note.
The UPA ministers know that they must swim or sink together and so it is not difficult to understand how the instinct of political survival has prevailed over both Mukherjee and Chidambaram prompting them to reach a truce. But the Finance Ministry’s note does not disappear with the Finance Minister personally distancing himself from some of the observations and inferences. From the day the lids blew off the 2G scam, anybody familiar with the parliamentary mode of governance could guess that a scam of that magnitude involving such a key sector and major players could not just be a matter of omission or commission by just the telecom minister alone. It could only be a case of ‘collective responsibility’, the cardinal principle that is so often invoked by governments in parliamentary democracy.
Manmohan Singh always knew that action against any individual minister would trigger a chain reaction. That is why he delayed taking action against A Raja for as long as he could. With Raja in jail, Dayanidhi Maran, his predecessor in the telecom ministry has already followed suit, and whatever Mr. Pranab Mukherjee may now say in defence of his ‘valued colleague’ Chidambaram, we all know it very well that A Raja has also been insisting that Chidambaram be summoned as a witness! Manmohan Singh and his ministers may now bend all rules and subvert all norms of propriety to save their skin, but as far as public perception is concerned the Congress party and the UPA government just cannot go out of the coverage area of the tainted network of 2G scam.
Even as prices soar and scams multiply under the UPA regime, the BJP is making a desperate bid to regain power. While Narendra Modi, the director of the 2002 Gujarat genocide, now talks of ‘Sadbhavna Mission’, Advani is on a yatra for ‘clean politics’ even as two BJP chief ministers have had to resign in the wake of disclosure of massive scams, one of whom is now in jail. 
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar flagged off Advani’s rath from Bihar. It is a grand convergence of political opportunism – while Advani seeks to appropriate the legacy of Jayprakash Narain by launching his yatra on JP’s birthday from his place of birth, Nitish Kumar sees this as an opportunity to project himself as an anti-corruption crusader and push up his brand value within NDA.
This is an outright mockery of the legacy of the 1974 JP movement and an insult to the spirit of the ongoing anti-corruption movement of the Indian people. The JP movement was about dethroning the corrupt and not replacing one set of corrupt with another. BJP’s former Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa has been arrested even in the midst of Advani’s ‘anti-corruption’ yatra. And before Nitish Kumar certifies Advani’s mission of ‘clean politics’ he owes an answer to the people of Bihar and India about the credentials of his own government. The treasury fraud has grown to Rs 16,000 crore and the BIADA land allotment scam has just hinted at the kind of corruption and nepotism that is thriving under Nitish Kumar. 

While intensifying the battle against the scamsters of UPA, consistent fighters against corruption will also have to reject the BJP-NDA politics of pretension and hypocrisy with the contempt it deserves.