I remember this controversy
vividly as it was during that time I had moved to Mumbai in 1993 for my further
studies. NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar who was then in the Congress had just been moved
from the Defence Ministry to take over
as the Maharashtra CM to control volatile situation post the Babri Masjid
demolition riots and the Mumbai bomb blasts.
Indian Economy was then just opening up and the Government had got a major FDI for a Power Project in Dabhol, Maharashtra which was to be set up by Enron Corporation. Reports started coming out about opacity and underhand dealings in this project. The opposition led by Shiv Sena Supremo Balasaheb Thackeray went hammer and tongs about this alleged corruption and his newspaper ‘SAAMNA’ was filled with stories about it. He went so far to say that if his party was elected to power he would throw the project in the Arabian Sea.
Riding high on this above point
besides the Hinduvta card the SS-BJP combined formed the government for the
first time in the State and guess what nothing like promised ever happened to
Enron’s Power project. Balasaheb went on the entertain Enron Chief Kenneth Lay
and the alleged face of everything wrong with Enron deal – Ms. Rebecaa Mark at
his residence. The controversy was soon put in the back burner and twenty years
later it has died its natural death.
Our political discourse is filled
with narratives like these that the political leaders use as a stepping stone
to power. Hearsay, without sound legal backup, playing the emotional card,
blaming the other side and playing holier than thou!!
From The 2G Scandal’s absurd loss
figures that were dismissed by the Special Courts, to tall claims of putting
the entire Congress Leadership in jail in 2014 election rallies the list is
The current NDA government is once
again asking for mandate on these very alleged cases without acting out on its
claims in the last 5 years or managing to get even a single conviction by the
courts. For they know it makes out for an excellent vote catcher but a really
bad legal case.
Till we have people who are
constantly fed on propaganda and are ready to lap it up, we shall have cases
like ENRON whose initial wildfire quickly turns in cold ash and helping bring
political gains without ever managing to jail a single alleged culprit.
There is a famous Latin phrase “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” which means “Who will guard the guards themselves?”
The last few days are nothing but playing out of this above phrase in the premium investigation agency of India i.e. The CBI. As the CBI files FIR against its own and the head of the Bureau asked to go on leave. All this is as some leaders like to say ‘happening for the first time in 70 years’.
The moot question that needs to be asked is it just this one off case or there is a pattern in all of this. Is there a pattern to undermine Institutions, to scuttle divergent idea or for that matter to push an agenda through their own man??
Some examples over the tenure of the current dispensation of the BJP led Central Government happen to reinforce the above view:
RBI – The post of RBI Governor is usually overboard and beyond politicking however in the case of Raghuram Rajan with an increase personal attack by the maverick BJP MP Subramanium Swamy, he choose to vacate the post rather than face the usual Mr. Swamy’s unsubstantiated charges. The Central Government didn’t come out in support of him or reign in their MP to undermine the office of the Governor of Reserve Bank India.
Niti Aayog – One of the most vociferous supporter of Shri Narendra Modi ji before he became the PM in 2014 was Mr. Arvind Pangaria – Economist and Professor at University of Colombia. He was well rewarded and aptly appointed as the Vice-Chairman of Niti Aayog in 2015. A tenure that is usually concurrent with the Central Government. However in just two years he chooses to resign from this post to go back to teaching. A person of his stature and knowledge could have been put to better use to drive the engine of Indian Economic Growth but the nation lost out on that due to as some reports are to be believed due to differences with the Finance Minister.
Supreme Court – Never before in the history of Independent India have the sitting senior most Judges of the Supreme Court of India has held a press conference to air their dissatisfaction with the functioning and interference in the working of the courts. To quote Justice Chelameswar “The administration of the Supreme Court is not in order. Many things that are less than desirable have happened in the last few months. Unless this institution is preserved, democracy will not survive in this country.”
FTII – The premier institute in India for film and Television was saddled with a Chairman whose minor claim to fame was being part of the Epic Mahabharat TV Serial and major claim was that he is card carrying member of BJP. The students went on strike, film fraternity objected to his appointment but again who can protest against a brute majoritanism?
These are just few examples for I am sure there are more that quietly die down never surfacing on the forefront. Are these the promised ‘अच्छे दिन’ that the people of India voted for in 2014 ?