A DISCLAIMER: This is just an attempt to throw up unconnected, disjointed, incoherent, unrelated incidents and anecdotes and any attempt to connect the dots would be at the risk of the beholder.
It was 2014, when Modi Government 1.0 had come with massive mandate for the first time ever in over thirty years, on the main plank of tackling corruption which was perceived to have reached Himalayan proportions during UPA II. The crowning jewels of UPA era scams were said to be 2G, Coalgate, Commonwealth Scam, Agustawestland Helicopters, etc. The list never contained anything called Chidambara Rahasya (as veteran journalist J. Gopikrishnan puts it) initially, though it did hit a home run with a bang, surprising everyone after 2014.
But, kindly consider the following timelines.
2G Scam – happened in 2008, with Letter of Allotments being issued in Jan 2008, flouting the First Come First Serve basis norms, leading to cancellation of 122 Spectrum Licences by Supreme Court. The Criminality and Corruption angle are still under judicial process.
Coalgate – As per CAG Report of 2012, allotment of coal blocks in 2006 to 2009 resulting in loss of Rs. 1.86 Lakh Crore to the exchequer.
Commonwealth Scam – With hosting of Commonwealth Games was signed in 2003, CAG examined the execution of projects from 2003 to 2009, and a full fledged report of more than 700 pages, detailing the irregularities was produced.
Augustawestland Chopper Scam – the main allegation was exchange of kickbacks between middlemen and Indian officials in 2006-2007 to win the contract of purchase of helicopters for high level politicians.
The above enumeration makes patently clear that saga of corruption started in UPA-1, discrediting the claim that UPA-1 was clean, while UPA-2 got the scam taint. Even intelligentsia had seem to have been bought to set the narrative. On the contrary, the saga of scams had its origins in UPA-1 of 2004 to 2009, itself.
Next, the scene shifts to 2009, the General Election. It was widely acknowledged to be ‘No big issues’ election. If UPA-1 was the harbinger of corruption and scams, how was that the Election became issueless, when the Corruption since 2004 should have been raised by BJP. Some might argue “Was it incompetence or unwillingness that marked the BJP’s purported ambivalence, if not complete, silence over those issues.?”. Not all would agree to it.
The following words of M.D. Nalapat, columnist, ring a distinct tune: “The record shows that Advani and Heir Apparent Arun Jaitley were as attentive to the concerns of the formidable occupant of 10 Janpath as was Vajpayee………Indeed, cosy personal links were formed between the “BJP High Command” and the “Congress High Command”.
Going by the above, some might argue that the erstwhile the BJP Central Command was co-opted by the Lutyens Khan Market Gang, to cite as the reason as to why Advani apologized to Sonia on black money, and the act was rejoiced, much to the chagrin of S.Gurumurthy, whose task force exposed the alleged stashing of funds in Swiss banks by Sonia family. But Not all might have been convinced.
But Modi was perceived to be different. Why? Because he and his trusted lieutenant Shah have been outsiders to the Lutyens Establishment (After all, trusting the above as testimony, some might argue it would not be difficult to discern that Lutyens included Old BJP leadership too; though not all would agree).
In all fairness to Modi, his government has been perceived to be free from any high level corruption. However, can the same be said on how his successive Governments have dealt with the past Corruption cases? After all, he indeed promised Fast Track Court for Corruption Cases. Some might argue that there was high hope for constituting Fast Track Courts to get closure of high profile corruption cases, which Modi himself was holding out in the first term, which proved to be, hitherto, an empty barrel. There could not be two opinion to say that the entire 2G case had collapsed. No closure had been achieved in other corruption cases on Congress, as well. Further, Corruption cases have always been those relating to Congress. Does one have to assume that other regional parties are running regimes of spick and span? One may never know. Though not all would agree.
Some more unrelated incidents. PM Modi announced demonetisation in November 2016. Sharad Pawar backed demonetisation, first, before taking U turn. R&AW chief claims Sharad Pawar had close ties with Dawood. Sharad Pawar meets Modi on farmers issues, before Maharashtra Government formation. Amit Shah escorts Mulayam Singh to front row, during swearing in ceremony of 2014. In 2014, Amit Shah accomplished complete rout of SP-BSP, in UP. SP secured 5 seats in 2014 General Election, all by family of Mulayam. Mulayam wishes Modi to become PM in 2019.
For any onlooker of Indian political landscape, it can’t but be an experience of curious amazement and constant sense of bewilderment. Indian Politics is akin to Indian Curry – Lot of masala.
Some might agree. Not all would buy it.
Which side are you?