BJP now steeped in corruption
The slide in the BJP’s image continues unabated. Recent controversies primarily arising out of the conflict of interest of some senior BJP leaders are also denting the Prime Minister’s credibility.
Paradoxically, the latest worrying situation for the BJP has originated from the fabulously moneyed IPL czar Lalit Modi’s proximity to some of the leading lights of politics, business, and sports fields and his business-oriented style of functioning for his as well his collaborators benefit.
Last week’s non-stop coverage of what the electronic media described as “Lalitgate” put Sushma Swaraj, and <g data-gr-id="57">Vasundhra</g> Raje and her son Dushyant Singh in the dock. These reports highlighted how Sushma helped the former IPL czar- Lalit Modi who is evading questioning by the Enforcement Directorate on corruption and money laundering charges- procure international travel papers from the UK government and earned the stigma of being a collaborator of the absconder from India.
These reports also revealed the details of the joint business ventures of Vasundhra Raje’s family members and Lalit Modi. Congress spokesman cited documents to allege that she, in collaboration with Lalit Modi, usurped government’s City Palace, Dholpur and claimed it to be a private property though the BJP later rebutted the charge claiming that the property belonged to the royal family.
The conflict of interest in the Foreign Minister’s case was highlighted by the fact that Swaraj Kaushal, husband of the Foreign Minister and her daughter Bansuri have been operating as Lalit Modi’s lawyers.
What added fuel to the “conflict of interest” fire was a leaked email saying Lalit Modi had offered Sushma’s husband directorship of his family-run company Indofil. Admitting directorship’s offer made to him via email in April 2015, Kaushal said that he had rejected the offer on <g data-gr-id="55">phone</g>. Kaushal said he had been handling Lalit Modi’s legal matters for the last 20 years.
These controversies need to be seen in the background of the unsavoury developments that have lately been hitting the image of the BJP and the Prime Minister. First it was some BJP leaders including MPs and saffron-attired Sadhvis trying to polarise India’s inclusive cultural and religious society by making inflammatory speeches. (Some still continue to repeat such communally provocative mouthfuls). Then the Lalitgate highlighting the conflict of interest is to benefit some senior ministers. The latest is the highhanded actions of some of the Modi’s leading ministers delaying airline flights causing inconvenience to passengers.
The brief narrative about the misdoings of some BJP leaders will be incomplete without referring to the case of self-acclaimed Yoga guru Ramdev. The government has provided him Z-category security with some states, including Haryana’s Khattar government, also appointing him as their brand ambassador. The attempt to give Ramdev a ministerial berth in Haryana <g data-gr-id="54">repotedly</g> did not fructify due to saner advice from within the ruling party.
The hypocritical style of the Baba’s functioning as <g data-gr-id="67">saffronised</g> megaphone was exposed at his “meet the Press” programme recently held at the Chandigarh Press Club. While appreciating him for promoting Yoga, a questioner confronted him with four questions: (1) India’s history tells that Yogis never indulged in politics. But you are doing so and had even once planned to float a political party; (2) They never sold the ancient knowledge to mint money. But you have raised a business empire worth thousands of crore of rupees; (3) You got land allotted at throwaway prices from some state governments including Himachal Pradesh’s former Dhumal-led BJP government for use to promote Yoga. But the Virbhadra Singh-led government cancelled the allotment claiming that you had started misusing the property for commercial activities; (4) Yogis never abused women and national leaders. But addressing the media at Chandigarh on April 3, 2014, you had said that “Sonia and Rahul are worse than Ravana, Sarupnakha and <g data-gr-id="68">Pootna</g> and Jawaharlal Nehru was the biggest ‘khalnayak’ (villain).”
Ramdev diplomatically evaded answering the questions. But after the Press meet he came to the questioner and hugging him requested with folded hands “Kripa <g data-gr-id="49">rakhna</g>”. It is regrettable that the saffron party which claims to be the biggest protagonist and protector of India’s ancient culture has been patronising the self-styled Yoga guru who violates all ancient values.
Why has the Prime Minister been keeping silent on such happenings is intriguing. His exceptionally oratorical skills largely contributed first to help him party win a majority in the Parliament and then to his ascendance to the country’s highest executive office. The latest happenings, particularly the anger being generated among the minorities, pose a danger to India’s integrity and inclusiveness of its multi-cultural society.
History tells us that <g data-gr-id="51">concentration</g> of power in a single person’s hands leads to authoritarianism which usually poses <g data-gr-id="52">threat</g> to democracy.