By Dr Jitendra Kumar Sharma
WHILE the BJP, according to Sushma Swaraj, has tasked Arun Jaitley "to collect facts on Robert Vadra’s rise" and to CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, "It looks like a serious matter" and deserves "a structured reaction", to the common people, especially, the senior citizens, it is an open secret. At their daily get-together in city parks or under the banyan (bargad) tree outside the village panchayat-ghars, they can be seen simply gossiping and entertaining themselves with this question, answer, to which for them is an open secret but worth repeating and entertaining with.
The opposition’s interest in Vadra’s assets stems from a report in the Economic Times of March 14, 2011 which details Robert Vadra’s sudden climb from modest fashion accessories to high-rise DLF partnership, his real estate empire now spreading to Haryana and Rajasthan.
People are admiring and feeling envious about the son-in-law, Robert Vadra, who married into the country's most powerful political family, and instead of going into politics, has made a most enriching use of his political affiliation.
At a time when farmers are committing suicide as their lands have become unyielding and impoverishing, the most powerful son-in-law of the country is acquiring and getting unlimited lands here, there and everywhere. Money is no problem. "Does he apply for a loan?", asks a gossiping senior and the other one in reply gapes at him to express his crony’s slow wits. "Do you think, he is a farmer who would die of a loan?"; "my stupid brother, he is Sonia’s son-in-law. Money bags walk to him, Bankers bow to him. Still, he has not made as much as Raja". Another one joins in and says, "Rahul shall become only a Prime Minister, Robert will become a Raja before his sala (brother-in-law) become Prime Minister!". There is a guffaw of laughter from the gathering as one more voice says with uncontrollable laughter: "The son-in-law shines, as the son rises"!
Aristotle pronounced that man is a political animal. Therefore, one can safely say that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is an animal. When the late Rajnarain was called a "political animal" by another member of Indian Parliament, the redoubtable leader growled: "You called me janwar? The learned Professor Singh knows better and will shyly admit being one.
Gandhiji himself had been called a wily fox in his time. And, Sarojini Naidu called Gandhiji, "mickey mouse".
Mehta’s question is: "Could a non-politician have run UPA-I and UPA-II which has such tricky customers as Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee, not to mention M Karunanidhi? Could a non-politician have so effortlessly ditched the Left, secretly roped in Mulayam Singh Yadav and got the N-deal through?
The wily Prime Minister, like other Congressmen of the day, is no Gandhian; he wears too many masks? He is proud to be a bureaucrat most of all.
The Indian bureaucracy was created by the British Raj and remains its perpetual successor. It over-rules Ministers and Prime Ministers. Congress politicians in fact do not like Manmohan Singh. Ask Parnabda? Digvijay Singh? The late Arjun Singh. They all regard him as a usurper. See how Manmohan foisted fellow bureaucrat PJ Thomas as CVC. And escaped the Opposition’s wrath by substituting the bureaucratic phrase "error of judgment" for a gross illegality he had deliberately committed.
And now comes a more stunning gloss, on Manmohan Singh, India’s political wolf numero UNO via the Wikileaks. Another open secret has been revealed that Manmohan Singh survived the July 22, 2008 confidence vote by bribing members of Parliament. Scams and scandals, our political wolf gulps it all right in front of the people. Transparency, it has been said can frighten corruption but has not in broad daylight before all the people the Prime Minister been committing illegal ?
BJP, however, does not see it in that light. Its Parliamentary Wing is shocked by PM's "Immorality"! but immorality is no crime under the Indian Law. Illegality is punishable under the law. So, the BJP is simultaneously creating an escape route for the foxy Prime Minister while crying "foul". Why can’t it say: PM, you have committed a legal wrong and now face the punishment for it?
"One of Manmohan Singh’s unrecognised strengths is that his friends and rivals constantly underestimate his political instincts. He is not a soft touch; he is a survivor. The BJP, which also has many survivors, should first of all, in its own interests, recognise that reality. Then they can probably unseat him", insightfully observes the Outlook editor.
Is Manmohan Singh "the weakest Prime Minister"? Being weak is no crime yet, a more thick-skinned PM Indian people have not seen before. Obviously, the BJP has to re-invent its terminology. It also needs to correct its perceptions about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his bureaucratically perfect phraseology. About bribes he says, "I did not authorise anyone to purchase votes." A bureaucrat may escape with these words but a politician? Never.