Party’s stubbornness to act against the guilty is electorally damaging
Mumbai : Perhaps the awareness about the irredeemable nature of the Congress’s political fortune persuaded Prithviraj Chavan to let the cat out of the bag. By confessing, however, that he was powerless as the Maharashtra chief minister to probe the allegations of corruption against influential party members like Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Ashok Chavan, as well as a ministerial colleague, Ajit Pawar, the outgoing chief minister has drawn attention to the primary cause which is behind his party’s decline.
There is little doubt that it is the deliberate turning of the blind eye towards suspected acts of corruption which has fatally undermined the party’s position. The Congress’ reputation for aiding and abetting corruption first enabled Anna Hazare to whip up public sentiments against the party.
Since then, its soiled image has been exploited in full measure by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has buttressed its case by underlining Manmohan Singh’s poor record in governance.
But it wasn’t only the former prime minister’s seeming inefficiency resulting in a policy paralysis which hurt his government and party but also the palpable dalliance with fraud.
As much was evident when, like Chavan, Manmohan Singh confessed his helplessness to act against dishonest colleagues because, as he said, one couldn’t have elections every six months.
The person whom the then prime minister probably had in mind when he made the comment was undoubtedly the telecom minister of the time, Andimuthu Raja. Nor is there any doubt at whose prodding Manmohan Singh allowed Raja to continue in office till the Supreme Court intervened and sent him to jail.
It could not have been anyone other than the Congress’s all-powerful president, Sonia Gandhi, who prevailed upon Manmohan Singh to let Raja remain in office if only because any step against him would have made the DMK withdraw support, leading to the government’s fall.
Sonia Gandhi must have been also behind Prithviraj Chavan’s inability to act against Vilasrao Deshmukh and others lest the party be “decimated”, as he said.
In both the cases, a prime minister and a chief minister known for their personal integrity had to bow to unethical dictates from the powers-that-be and pretend to be oblivious of all the wrong-doing that was perpetrated under them.
It is another matter that neither Manmohan Singh nor Chavan had the guts to tell those higher up in the party echelons that they could not wink at fraud and behave as if all was well. Had they done so, the fate of the Congress might have been different. —IANS