Will The Alleged Nexus With Big Businessmen Hurt Politicians?

Will The Alleged Nexus With Big Businessmen Hurt Politicians?

The nexus between politicians and builders is now disrupting normal law and order as those connected with this nexus have no fear of law and indulge in reckless behaviour. This must change

Rohit ChandavarkarUpdated: Tuesday, May 28, 2024, 10:39 PM IST
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Representative Image | Pixabay

In a rare gesture the Congress party in Maharashtra held a well prepared and properly organised press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday to ask questions about the horrific car accident that caused the deaths of two young software engineers in Pune last week, and led to becoming the talking point not all over Maharashtra but all across the country. Hundreds of accidents happen all over India every day; what made this newsworthy was the alleged attempt to destroy the evidence related to the incident, attempt to divert attention and alleged political involvement of certain leaders to protect the accused in the case. State Congress president Nana Patole accused some ruling party leaders, ministers and MLAs of involvement in all this. Similar allegations were levelled after the fatal industrial accident that resulted in 11 deaths which happened at Dombivli in Thane district. All this has now brought the focus on whether certain big businessmen have proximity with some powerful politicians in Maharashtra and whether they frequently try to get away when such tragedies happen, using political clout.

Just over three decades after India embarked on the path of free economy and globalisation, and over a decade after the BJP announced that one of their targets in their election manifesto was to bring “minimum government and maximum governance”, India still remains a “politically controlled economy”. A lot of talk has happened over the past three decades about bringing “ease of business” and how “licence permit raj” of the past has been gradually removed. However, what one sees on the ground is the fact that no matter how small or large a business is, it cannot be set up in India’s towns, cities or metros without political patronage. Whether it is putting up a roadside tea stall or a thousand crore manufacturing unit, the entrepreneur must get bureaucratic and political patronage. The more things are claimed by successive governments to have changed, the more they remain the same.

Politicians are quick to take advantage of the situation. In today’s times it has become rare for state assembly MLAs not to be in some kind of partnership with businessmen, and in most cases this business is related to real estate development. Cities in Maharashtra like Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Nagpur have seen a tremendous real estate boom in the past three decades and as regulation of the real estate sector gets controlled by politicians and senior bureaucrats, many have developed vested interests. The proximity certain politicians have with real estate developers — also known as builders — is very well known in public. In the recent past the nexus between politicians and builders has caused immense damage to the environment, has resulted in unauthorised constructions, encroachments and even calamities like frequent floods during monsoons, uncontrolled fires in high-rise buildings and other damage. Now there are signs that this nexus is also disrupting normal law and order and causing unnatural deaths of young people, as in many cases those connected to this nexus have no fear of law and indulge in reckless behaviour.

The question now is whether, after incidents such as the car crash at Kalyaninagar in Pune, public anger over how attempts were allegedly made to tamper with evidence because of political influence will hit politicians in some way. The Congress party leadership in Pune and also the state level leadership has alleged that there is involvement of two senior leaders of Nationalist Congress Party or NCP in the alleged evidence tampering and bringing pressure to let off the accused in the case. Similar allegations were made about the Dombivli incident where a huge industrial accident took place. It is interesting that at the national level too Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tried to take voters’ attention towards the alleged nexus between the top leadership of the Indian government and some leading businessmen of the country. But similar allegations by him over certain defence deals involving some businessmen did not make much impact during the 2019 poll campaign.

This time around there is a lot of noise seen and heard on social media and conventional media too, about the nexus between politicians and businessmen. The behaviour of both is becoming more and more blatant and it threatens ordinary citizens like never before. After the Pune car crash and deaths of two innocent youngsters, citizens came out in large numbers on the streets to protest. Opposition political parties and some elected representatives raised their voice and started agitations, the media took the issue up nationally, and when things like tampering with evidence were exposed, there was large-scale public anger seen all over. If this alertness and willingness to come out to raise their voice is seen regularly among citizens and media, politicians will learn the lesson and control their partners for sure. Ordinary law-abiding citizens must keep the pressure on and ensure that politicians, bureaucrats and others feel that they are accountable.

Rohit Chandavarkar is a senior journalist who has worked for 31 years with various leading newspaper brands and television channels in Mumbai and Pune

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