Partners in sleaze
Political parties talk the same lingo, dish out identical arguments and almost invariably cite political compulsions to explain graft and continuation of tainted leaders in high offices. Take the case of A Raja and Y S Yeddyurappa. The explanation the PM gave for failing to act on time against the discredited Telecom Minister were no different from Nitin Gadkari’s statement in response to Sushma Swaraj’s frontal attack on Arun Jaitley to counter the popular perception that she patronized Karnataka’s infamous yet powerful Reddy brothers whose mining syndicate functions as the state’s super cabinet.
What Gadkari broadly said was that the Reddys were ministers because of the party, not any individual. Self-indicting though, the statement was, in relative terms, less embarrassing than his shocking defense earlier of Yeddy’s land grab that he termed as “morally wrong but legally right.”
If Manmohan Singh helplessly allowed Raja (a chosen man of Karunanidhi) to continue in his council of ministers, Yeddy was forced to drop in the interregnum his favourite minister Shobha Karandlaje (who’s since back), withdraw duty on iron ore and reinstate officers he transferred against the wishes of the Reddy clan. It was a clear case of breakdown of the constitutional machinery, what with the CM becoming an appendage of the de facto power center and forced to act at its behest rather than his own volition.
One need not go into the internal BJP rebellion against Yeddy, the disqualification of anti-Yeddy MLAs and their home-coming in the aftermath of the recent Supreme Court judgment that held void the Assembly speaker’s action aimed at saving the BJP regime. The Congress has let Yeddy be not out of any love for democracy. Its hands are tied for lack of a majority in the Rajya Sabha where any use of Article 356 has to be ratified.
Myriad inquiries including those overseen by the highest court are currently underway into the Reddy mining business and its tentacles in Andhra Pradesh. Speculation is that the genesis of Sushma’s outburst against Jaitley lay in these probes. There is also another set of rumors doing the rounds about three BJP leaders and their proximity to a corporate honcho jailed in the 2G scam. Of the threesome, at least one could have real problems explaining his business/professional ties with the accused.
I suspect that sooner than later, the Congress and the BJP might be in another whirlpool of controversies over sleaze, kickbacks and questionable contacts. The CWG scam hasn’t seen the last of it with the imprisonment of Suresh Kalmadi and some games officials. Many other big names could come under a cloud in shoddy yet expensively executed CWG projects.
The list of the accused in the Adarsh scam must also get longer with at least one Central minister becoming a casualty. What awaits the country is a mass funeral of political reputations. With Kanimozhi already behind bars, the fires might engulf high-profile siblings across party lines.