Millennium Post

Ah me! How little is Rs 71 lakhs

The remarks of union cabinet minister Beni Prasad Verma, a member of the Congress party, on corruption are of interest. He has opined, when coming to the defence of cabinet colleague Salman Khurshid, that Rs 71 lakhs was too little for a cabinet minister to cheat. He has said that he would have taken the criminal misappropriation and corruption charges seriously ‘if the amount had been Rs 71 crore’. We must admire the remarkable candour of the Congress minister. He has come clean with the facts.  At last we have an insight into the workings and the rates for corruption of the Congress Party. They don’t do it for peanuts or even for a bottle of rum. Inflation has caught up with the graft charges and it is nothing less than amounts in dozens of crores. The pricing policy appears to be well-optimised to suit inflationary pressures. The party appear to have gone in for the maximisation of revenues, perhaps taking a leaf out of the books of the international corporates that its policies endorse, so what if it is a little outside the pale of the law. Verma has fixed the lower end of the scale which a cabinet minster will not touch but he has not clearly indicated the upper end. Possibly, there is an ascending scale linked to party hierarchy, with perhaps a tempting bait thrown in for the prime minister as well.

These economic priorities of the Congress government are fascinating and of interest to the general public. Verma should therefore place more facts in the public domain. The Congress, under the dynamic leadership of its economist prime minister, appears to have gone in yet another series of economic reforms, this time internal, stretching the the law a little, so necessary, as honesty is clearly so infra-dig.

As with this government’s other economic policies, the aam admi, or the common man seems to have been left out of the equation. Just as he can no longer afford either gas or vegetables, he has been priced out even when it comes to bribing a minister. Perhaps Verma’s statement is the clearest indication of this government’s pro-rich policies. And now we know, thanks to the utterances of Congress ministers, especially those accused of corruption, that anyone who points a finger at a Congress minister caught red-handed with his hands at the till, is a guttersnipe. Not only do senior Congress have expanded wallets, so what if they may be stolen, they also have expanded vocabularies full of expletives to hurl at their accusers. How admirable our ministers are! And they are above the law. As Salman Khurshid has said, he doesn’t have to respond to questions raised in the streets. So we, the people of the streets, presumably closely related to the species of guttersnipes, can only turn green with envy at the extraordinary enterprise of our Congress leaders, even as our morality – how stupid we are in our idiotic adherence to it – possibly prevents us from imitating them.
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