The year 2010, the second year of UPA-II regime, turned out to be most disastrous to the image of the alliance, in general and congress party in particular. First the Common Wealth Games scam surfaced up where there seems to be blatant loot in contracts and purchase of exercise machines and even toilet paper rolls. The key player in all this was the chairman of CWG, who is a congress MP from Pune, pointing fingers at the integrity of party. Later in the year, another blow to the party's pride came when, the biggest scam in the recent Indian history, the 2G scam, came to light. The involvement of people from the union cabinet, though from an Alliance partner, did not help the cause of the party.
When these scams and scandals came to light for the first time, thanks to the continued efforts from the media, the govt. was under immense pressure. Due to widespread protests by the NGO's, and the civil society groups, the govt initially caved into their demands in panic, because these groups captured the popular sentiment of the middle class, which provides govt its legitimacy. But as soon as the govt was able to devise ways of confusing the middle class, it backtracked from its promises.
On investigations conducted by the prime investigation body, the CBI, it was brought into notice that the whole thing could not have been carried forward without the nod from the PRIME MINISTER. In the middle of the blame game that has started now as more names of the accused have started pouring in and the opportunist politics being played by the opposition, the middle class which needed to lead the fight against corruption has become all the more confused.
In wake of these revelations, different people have given their completely different versions of the story. Some have even gone to the extent of suggesting that if bribe giving is legalized, the problem of corruption would be less severe. For them, this argument seems to be in line with the case that corruption and smuggling improves economic efficiency. Even some powerful voices have argued for this. Our prime minister, a clever academician, probably one of the most qualified head of states in the world, had acted decisively on issues close to his heart like the INDIA-USA civil nuclear deal which is pushed through in spite of stiff resistance to it and the pertaining threat to his party but his initial silence regarding scams and the people involved in the recent past, did cause considerable damage to the image of an honest politician in the world of dirty politics. The media and opposition didn't leave any stone unturned to capitalize on the situation.
Eventually when the PM did speak out, he seemed to be shifting from his 'coalition compulsions' argument to giving technical explanations every now and then which added to his misery. First he confided that pleasing the parties in the coalition makes them compromise on the principles of party. He further went on to justify that decision makers act in uncertainty without complete information and therefore the resulting inappropriate decisions are not deliberate bur errors of judgment. This argument on the face of it seems to many a viable one, but has a lot of shortcoming in context of recent developments in the investigation probing the mega 2g scam. For example, why did some of the licenses go to those who had no experience in the field? This has nothing to do with uncertainty. The further argued that he should not be expected to look into the details pertains to each ministry, not being an expert on all matters. This statement to evade from the responsibility seems to ignore the fact that he has numerous agencies & experts at his disposal. When the wrong doing pertains to the case were pointed in 2008, he could have taken some appropriate steps to avoid much of the embarrassment that latter cropped up due to the delay.
In the present scenario, in order to maintain its democratic status, the nation needs an institution like LOKPAL to bring about accountability? There are discussion going on that the prime minister shall be brought under the ambit of LOKPAL along with the higher judiciary, but democracy is being cited as the reason for not bringing the nation's highest functionaries within its ambit. It is being argued that prime minister being accountable to parliament will be automatically checked by the opposition and that giving this power to LOKPAL, an external agency, will undermine parliament. Also inclusion of PM within the purview of LOKPAL will prevent him for taking tough decisions for fear of inviting challenges.
But those who are presenting the strong counter arguments fails to understand that he himself is also human like his cabinet members and that keeping a check on other members but excluding him isn't logical at all. A person with a clean image shouldn't be afraid at all about justifying any act of his , no matter how much pressure he might have faced in making those tough decisions! ...
DANISH KHATANA .