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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Modi says end corruption: Then why is he mum on 7 most corrupt BJP men?

Charity begins at home. This is an all-time truth. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seen launching a major verbal crackdown on corruption.

What Modi said?

“Generational corruption” is a major challenge for the country and “dynasty of corruption” makes the country hollow, Modi said earlier this week. Inaugurating the National Conference on Vigilance and Anti Corruption, he said, “Generational corruption is a major challenge that has been gradually growing in the past decades and has taken a formidable form in the country.” He explained generational corruption as the corruption transferred from one generation to another. “When a generation of corrupt people does not get the right punishment, then the second generation commits corruption with more vigour. Due to this, it became part of political tradition in many states. This corruption and dynasty of corruption from generation to generation makes the country hollow,” Modi said.

All these might seem very rosy, but we question why is Modi selective about taking action against corrupt leaders and officials? Why not just be neutral and not picky to end corrupt practices? In this article, we shall follow this topic and find out whether Modi is actually serious about ending corruption.

Modi says end corruption: Then why is he mum on 7 most corrupt BJP men?

Centre clearly selective about taking action against corrupt leaders

It is true that since 2014, the Narendra Modi government has been relentlessly pursuing corruption allegations against opposition leaders. Raids and summons intensify especially when an election is around the corner. But this is not a fight against corruption because if it was one, it wouldn’t spare BJP leaders accused of corruption. The selective nature of this ‘anti-corruption’ agenda makes it a witch-hunt. This witch-hunt stands in sharp contrast to the Modi government’s refusal to have the controversial Rafale deal investigated, or to the manner in which it dragged its feet over appointing a Lokpal for five years. Here are some politicians the CBI and other investigating agencies have been soft on, despite corruption charges against them. Why don’t Modi take action against his own party leaders who are proven corrupt already?

Here are the 7 most corrupt BJP leaders Modi must take action against

1. BS Yediyurappa

He became Karnataka’s chief minister again despite being the very image of corruption in Karnataka. Accused in land and mining scams, with diaries recovered from his possession showing hefty amounts being paid to top BJP leaders, judges and advocates, Yediyurappa today stands tall, acquitted of most of the charges. The same CBI that was investigating him for years couldn’t furnish enough evidence against him when the Modi government came to power. The Supreme Court might yet order investigations against him in a land scam.

2. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’

He is India’s minister for human resource development. As Uttarakhand chief minister, he was at the centre of two big scams: one regarding land and the other regarding hydro-electric projects. The image of his regime, which was hit by various corruption cases, was so bad that the BJP forced him to resign in 2011. Of course, neither the CBI nor the Uttarakhand government is in any hurry to get to the bottom of the corruption charges. Far from being investigated, Ramesh Pokhriyal now holds an important portfolio in Modi’s cabinet.

3. Reddy brothers of Bellary

Before the Karnataka elections in 2018, the CBI quickly concluded its investigations into mining scams worth Rs 16,500 crore against the Bellary brothers without pursuing the cases to their logical ends. For such audacious plundering of India’s wealth, the Modi government let the Bellary brothers go scot-free because the BJP needs them to win A forest service officer who was the whistleblower in this case was sacked by the Modi government earlier this month.

4. Shivraj Singh Chouhan

The CBI in 2017 gave then-Madhya Pradesh chief minister a clean chit in the Vyapam scam. Would Shivraj Singh Chouhan have gotten away had he been a member of the Congress? A huge entrance exam scam, it has seen whistleblowers and witnesses die mysteriously one after another, more than 40 by some media estimates.

5. Mukul Roy

As the BJP needed to expand its organisational base in West Bengal, it inducted scam-tainted Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy in its fold. Roy joined the party soon after the Enforcement Directorate had summoned him in the Narada ‘sting’ case, an undercover operation by a local news channel that showed several other top TMC leaders accepting bribes. Roy is also an accused in the Saradha chit fund scam. The law, he says, will take its own course. Somehow, the law’s course towards him has slowed in its pace since he joined the BJP.

6. Himanta Biswa Sarma

The Amit Shah of the Northeast, as he is called, Himanta Biswa Sarma was once a member of the Congress party and faced corruption charges. The BJP had waged a full campaign, even releasing a booklet, accusing Sarma of being the “key suspect” in the water supply scam in Guwahati. The scam is known as the Louis Berger case because of the involvement of the American construction management company. There’s even a chargesheet by the US Department of Justice under the country’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, alleging that the company paid bribes to an unnamed minister. From claiming that the minister was Sarma to inducting him into the party, the BJP came a long way. The Assam government has predictably gone slow on the investigations, and the BJP hasn’t followed up with its own old demand to hand over the case to the CBI.

7. Narayan Rane

The BJP last year inducted former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane into the party and made him a Rajya Sabha MP. The CBI and the ED are no longer rushing to investigate Rane or raid his properties. Rane has been accused of money laundering and land scams. His is the “first family of controversies” in Maharashtra politics.

Unfortunately, ruler as corrupt as opposition

India is aware of Congress’s corruption after their years of rule. But the BJP claims to be a “party with a difference” and Modi claims to be the crusader against corruption – he rose to power on the basis of the moral claim of “na khaoongana khaane doonga” (will not take bribes, nor let anyone do so).

But The hollowness of this whataboutery can be easily exposed:

The Congress government imposed the Emergency in 1975. So, does it become legitimate to impose an Emergency now? The Congress indulged in corruption. So, is it legitimate for the BJP to indulge in corruption? But the Congress was voted out precisely because people felt that it was tainted by gross corruption, is it not? At least a section of the people who voted for Modi thought that they were voting for something different from Congress. Then, how is it kosher for the BJP to organise a midnight constitutional coup and seek to align with what Modi called a “Naturally Corrupt Party”?”

How is it kosher that the crusade against corruption has only been restricted to opposition leaders? How is it that a Congress leader like Sukh Ram, convicted for corruption, is in the BJP now? How is it that scores of leaders charged with serious corruption charges like Mukul Roy, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Narayana Rane and others, have become clean after a “saffron wash” by joining the BJP?

Statewise instances of BJP’s corruption

More than the open disregard for constitutional proprieties, the blatant doublespeak of the BJP is grating. On the very day that the Maharashtra governor hurriedly swore in a BJP-NCP government in the early hours – without even ascertaining the signatures submitted by Ajit Pawar – this is what Modi said at the Conference of Governors: “As Chancellors of Universities, governors become sources of inspiration for our dynamic youth.” He then called upon governors to serve the poor “inspired by the principles outlined in our great constitution!”

A) Just two days after the midnight machinations to install a government without majority, and then “poach” opposition MLAs through money power and the threat of investigation agencies, Modi, while campaigning in Jharkhand, said that under the Congress and its allies, “governments were made through the back door. There were alliances of self-seekers who were driven by the lust for power.”

B) The double standards are simply staggering. The JDU-Congress-RJD alliance won a huge majority, but the BJP formed the government with JDU when the latter walked out of the government. Where was the moral outrage at ideologically contradictory post-poll coalitions when the BJP joined together with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir after the elections, or formed governments in Manipur, Goa, and Meghalaya despite not being the party with the highest number of MLAs?

D) In Manipur, the BJP won 21 seats in the 2017 elections, now it has 31. In Goa, the BJP won 13 seats in the 2017, now it has 27, with many Congress MLAs now BJP ministers. The BJP under Modi is willing to accommodate every corrupt politician from any other party. It is willing to take every corrupt institutional practice practiced before to a new low.

Therefore, we can’t keep much faith on Modi’s recent statement about ending corruption because we believe he should initiate action from the home turf first if he really meant what he said.

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