Nobody would have believed this two weeks ago. NDA had completed one year in power and there was no major complaint of corruption or scam.
NDA was rejoicing and taking pride on this.
The Congress party told them, "Look, we also did not face any allegation of corruption in the first year i.e.2004 -2005, all allegations came later." Suddenly this bombshell exploded and all the confidence of NDA was shattered.
Two major pillars of BJP – Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister and Vasundhara Raje, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, were totally exposed and it became quite evident that these two women stalwarts of BJP were secretly helping Lalit Modi, former IPL Commissioner and a well known cricket Czar, so that he could legally stay on in England, although being wanted in India by the Enforcement Directorate for the commission of many economic offences.
In the beginning I disbelieved this story, being an ardent admirer of Sushma Swaraj.
I was angry with the media for maligning our popular "bhabhiji" with the blazing red sindoor on her forehead. She appeared to be a sincere and simple lady, a nationalist to the core. I remembered her fiery speech in Parliament in 1998 when she was defending the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Her speech was so touching that it completely won my heart over.
It was, indeed, a rude shock for me when it was revealed that she had spoken to the British envoy directly for helping Lalit Modi to get back his travel papers like passport so that he could travel to Portugal to meet his ailing wife. She had neither consulted the Foreign Secretary, Smt. Sujata Singh nor the Joint Secretary, Europe.
She had also not taken into confidence the Finance Minister under whom the Enforcement Directorate functions. She said she did it on humanitarian grounds because Lalit Modi's wife, was suffering from Cancer and since he was their old family friend. It seems BJP has accepted her defence and she has not been shown the door. However, it is highly debatable whether her actions can be forgiven .
Had she not been a politician and had she been a bureaucrat, the government might have axed her by now. She would have to explain why and how she is a family friend of a dangerous economic offender and how her husband and daughter are defending him in court, while she is holding a high post in govt.
The conduct of the Rajasthan CM is even more shocking. She gave a written testimony in a British court in favour of Lalit Modi in 2011 when she was leader of the opposition in Rajasthan. In her written and signed testimony she had maligned the Govt. of India on foreign soil and had told the court, that the political situation in India was such that Lalit Modi could be hounded in India unfairly if he returned to India. She pleaded for allowing Lalit Modi to stay on in UK and avoid the blue corner notice against him issued by the Enforcement Directorate.
This was a highly unpatriotic act which cannot be easily forgiven. BJP is not taking any action against her because she reportedly claims that a large number of Rajasthan BJP MLAs are solidly with her and if she has to quit BJP they will also quit with her leading to the fall of the BJP government….at least this is what the media is discussing and guessing at the moment.
The fact that the BJP President, Shri Amit Shah, and PM Narendra Modi are totally silent on this issue is diminishing the prestige and stature of BJP every passing day. The image, (Bhavmurti) of the party is being badly tarnished by this. For a political party the "Bhavmurti" is of utmost importance and if this is lost once, BJP may start losing one election after the other. The people of India have started whispering and are now questioning even the Prime Minister for not taking any action.
The present Prime Minister is an immensely popular Prime Minister who had rescued the people of India from the clutches of a corrupt Congress party and naturally he commands a lot of respect among the people of India. Some say that Narendra Modi is actually Swami Vivekanand (Narendra Dutta) reborn in Gujarat. Some people in rural India believe that he is a reincarnation of Lord Vishwanath (whose temple is located in Varanasi) and that is why he fought elections from the Varanasi constituency.
The Education Minister, Smriti Irani also embarrassed the government by making a declaration in an affidavit before the Election Commission that she was a graduate although she is actually BA Part 1 passed. Her offence is not very major and perhaps she could be forgiven. The Maharashtra Minister, Pankaja Munde of BJP had reportedly made some irregularities in purchases and she is also being investigated by the Maharastra CM.
If I become superstitious I can say that women politicians do not appear to be lucky omen for Narendra Modi. He has to be extremely wary of Mamata Banerji and Jayalalithaa. In the next parliament elections he has to be extremely wary of Priyanka Vadra although he can easily ignore Rahul Gandhi as inconsequential.
(Amit Kushari (IAS, Retd.) is former Financial Commissioner, J&K. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact at 09748635185)