Megalomania of the corrupt
Dev Kant Baruah was a scholar of considerable repute. But he’s remembered the most for his mawkish “Indira is India and India is Indira” quote as president of the Indian National Congress during the period of Emergency.
On some other occasion, like the Bangladesh war, the Assamese politician’s statement wouldn’t perhaps have invited as much ridicule. He chose to eulogize Indira at a time she was muzzling the media, imprisoning political rivals and violating all cannons of democratic behaviour.
You’d ask why I’m recalling this eminently forgettable chapter of our contemporary history? Well, it’s because of Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s megalomania. He believes “the only successor to B S Yeddyurappa (in Karnataka) is B S Yeddyurappa.”
In defying the BJP high command, the CM has insulted the electorate.
Indira realized that they know better when Raj Narain defeated her in Rae Bareilly. So would Yeddyurappa.
He indeed is a tall leader of the Lingayats without whose appeal the BJP couldn’t have converted Karnataka into its first bastion in the South. The self-commendatory claim might have befitted at the height of his popularity. He’s now a man beleaguered by allegations of corruption, nepotism and the kind of cronyism the DMK’s A Raja practiced on a much larger scale as Telecom Minister.
Yeddyurappa’s case compares better with that of Natwar Singh who let his son’s avarice prevail over his better judgment. If allegations against him in the Adarsh Housing scam are true, even Ashok Chavan lost the Maharashtra chief ministership for a pittance— given the dazzlingly high stakes for which politicians sell their conscience and honesty these days.
They paid the price because law and the society do not predicate their judgment on the size of the booty. Bangaru Lakshman lost his job as BJP president for just one lakh rupees; bofors was minuscule compared to Raja’s appetite for slush money.
Reverting to the central theme of this post–the megalomania of the corrupt–Yeddyurappa’s self-image and Baruah’s description of Indira are mere symptoms of leaders turning against their makers at the first hint of a career crisis. The malaise isn’t India-centric. It afflicts politics across the world.
For this reason, it’s about time Parliament formulated ground rules for fighting the corrupt, regardless of their ideological or political allegiances. Those caught with their hand in the bin, should forever be banished from holding any party or public post.
Bhrashtachaarion ka bahishkaar!