Corruption’s new dimension in fresh charges?

The week has seen a fresh round of charges being made against the BJP president, Nitin Gadkari and the Himachal Pradesh Congress president and former CM, Virbhadra Singh. While both have denied the “unsubstantiated allegations”, political grapevine suggests that the material against the two leaders has been given to rivals and opponents by their own respective partymen.

Whether this is true or not is something, which we will learn with the passage of time. But it is more than a mere coincidence that these charges have surfaced when the BJP leader is seeking to get another term in office and the former CM is in the process of consolidating his position at the expense of both BJP and those opposed to him in his own organisation.

Even as the Vijay Dashmi celebrations are on and we recollect events from the Ramayana epic, there is this special mention of how Ravana was killed by Lord Rama with the help of his brother Vibheeshan. Vibheeshan had advised Rama to aim his arrow at the Demon king’s ‘Nabhi’ that was his most vulnerable point. His advice led to Ravana’s killing.

In the latest instance given the complexities of politics and high stakes, it is very much possible that the Vibheeshans in the BJP and Congress may have given half baked unsubstantiated dossiers on Gadkari and Virbhadra. And the way the media has played up these allegations, both these leaders find themselves in hotspots and are feeling the heat.

It is very well known that there are many in the BJP who do not want Gadkari to get another term so close to the next Lok Sabha polls. If he manages to get that, his position in the party will be enhanced and this will be at the cost of some others who are hoping to be in line of being projected as Prime Ministerial aspirants.

While people like Ram Jethmalani are clear and candid that they want his removal and are demanding that Narendra Modi be made the face of the party, there are others who may have one stance for the people and the other while looking at the intra party power struggle. This is where the hidden agenda of some BJP politicians has come to play and what is being seen is at best politics of deception. The RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in his Vijay Dashmi address on Wednesday has emphasised on zero tolerance for corruption and this observation is being interpreted now in BJP circles as an indication for Gadkari to not seek another term. But this interpretation may not be entirely correct as the RSS must be aware of the machinations within the saffron Brigade. Senior leader LK Advani’s feeble defence of his party chief should also be best seen as part of the theatrics going on in the BJP. All this will continue till the BJP/RSS resolve the leadership crisis for all times to come.

In Virbhadra’s case, the Congress High command was not able to ignore his stature and thus pushed him into the post of the HPCC president. He is the best bet for his party and if the Congress wrests the government from the BJP, it will be because of Virbhadra’s campaign and not because the party has improved its overall image in the country. There are many ambitious people in the Congress who would want Virbhadra to get the majority for the party and thereafter be marginalised. The only way of doing it is to create a perception that he is corrupt. Since they cannot do it directly, they could be using opponents. The way things are happening in Himachal, the Congress enjoys a clear edge and that is the reason why all top congress leaders wish to campaign in the state. They want to take the credit for the win, which they are anticipating. The reason they are going to Himachal and not to Gujarat is thus explained. The final outcome of the polls could very well hold a surprise for the Congress as it is people of the State who have to choose their representatives and the parties have to play second fiddle. Another reason for attack on Virbhadra is that the BJP leadership knows the only way to deflect attention from the corruption and negativity of the present PK Dhumal government is to keep the spotlight on Virbhadra and the unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against him.

In any case, these are the things, which make politics such an interesting game. Time will tell how things unfold and we will then look back and see what was what.

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