Corruption is a fact. That it percolates from the top echelons to the down-the-ladder clerk is a fact that all Indians have internalised in their psyche. Independent India witnessed the surge in corruption making a peak through the licence raj era. Only after liberalisation set in and globalisation became a phenomenon that India, especially a young India looked at corruption as an evil that could be tamed, if not killed. Major corruption scandals dwindled in number barring an occasional Sukhram stashing money in flower pots or Jayalalitha having hundreds of shoes, just to cite a few popular examples.
However the second term of the Congress led government experienced three major corruption scandals in a very short span of time. Readers may note that this is not to spare the Madhu ‘Money’ Koda, but just to bring to light three scams rocking the nation at almost one point of time. The trio of Commonwealth Games, 2 G spectrum scandal and Adarsh housing society scam has taken corruption to new heights or I must say rock bottom. Interestingly these three scandals share the common denominator of involvement of congressmen or its ministers. A chief minister of a large state, a cabinet minister and a president of a sports body since as-far-as-your-memory-might-take-you have come out as the chief of the corruption orchestra.
The details of the scams are too gory and mind boggling. While commonwealth games hit the image of the nation hard, the 2G spectrum involving huge amounts of money, the Adarsh housing scam exposed the ever so disciplined army. The damaging acts of these three scandals brought to the fore three faces of Suresh Kalmadi, A. Raja and Ashok Chavan. Two congressmen and one congress ally is how people recognize them. What distinguishes these men is their blatant brush with power and the immunity they carry.
Behind these incidents lies a greater matter of concern which involves the people of power, which when translated are Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi. There is a particular reason in the order of names. While Mrs Gandhi calls the shots, the Prime Minister Dr. Singh is the face of the government (though I would rethink on that statement given the surge of the next name) and the PM-in-waiting Rahul baba. Sonia Gandhi has had her knowledge of politics from her mother-in-law and imbibes many of her virtues. One who has seen how people in the corridor of power act, when the strings needs to be pulled, what is socialist, populist and what is monarchy, she understands like no other the art of power handling.
The noble yet toothless prime minister who was served the post on platter has been one of the cleanest figures of Indian polity. His admiration is pervasive of party lines in matter of integrity but where he falters is in playing an unquestioning comrade to the orders of his boss. Rahul Gandhi the official prime ministerial candidate believes in making you believe that he is the young crusader who will fight all evil and will be champion of the poor and downtrodden. Nothing wrong with that but what the nation expects at the face of such huge scams is these three people stand up for the cause of the country.
The socialist in Mrs. Gandhi could announce huge package for farmers’ loan waiver in a budget, could move Right To Information Act, could pass Right To Education but at the same time overlook corruption occurring under her nose in the house of which she is the undisputable leader. Reminds something of the original Mrs. Gandhi? A man of rare integrity, Dr. Singh has all the right ingredients to lead the nation, yet falters in it because where he lacks is the teeth to bite. Unassuming would be the best way to describe India’s most learned prime minister. Rahul Gandhi, need not be mentioned, has certain clout in south block and has many a times been instrumental in moving files of interest. Recently he has targeted corruption in a strong way but alas it has not gone unnoticed that they pertain majorly to non-congress ruled states.
The right time for these three leaders to show their substance is on hands. While timely and strong action against corruption can prove their mettle to the voter, inaction would prove them to be paper tigers. For the government to not end with a black patch of corruption, the cleansing act has to be done effectively and as soon as possible.