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Clear the air

Clear the air
Highlights

Warnings and survey reports had begun coming within two months of the astounding Lok Sabha polls victory, first on the electoral front, and then, on the divisive communal one. People of Uttarakhand

Warnings and survey reports had begun coming within two months of the astounding Lok Sabha polls victory, first on the electoral front, and then, on the divisive communal one. People of Uttarakhand and then, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and even PM Modi’s home state Gujarat voted opposition nominees in bye-elections.

With its 80 million membership drive, the BJP was planning a national ‘conquest.’ After Delhi polls disaster, stating that the ‘honeymoon’ was over became hackneyed. No correctives were applied. The Sangh Parivar continues to derail Modi’s reform agenda and confronts him with a majoritarian one.

On first anniversary celebrations, the government declared itself scam-free. Ironically, when Modi and BJP planned to observe 40th anniversary of the Emergency riding a moral high horse, scams have exploded. Some of the past governments had taken longer to arrive at this precipice.

The government’s and the BJP’s apologists may argue that while the UPA-2 scams meant quantifiable loss to the nation, that of Sushma Swaraj-Vasundhara Raje-Lalit Modi liaison is not – so far. But there is certainly scope for criticism for nepotism, of showing outright and/or under-hand favour to a family friend, who happens to be a wanted person under the law of the land.

These have given immense scope for a public outcry and a big handle to the opposition parties that had been awaiting such an issue ever since they lost the last Lok Sabha election. The scandal has caught the government by surprise. Its anti-graft campaign and the bold talk of getting home funds stashed abroad, the efforts that had met with some success with the Swiss banks making some disclosures, have suddenly come unstuck.

Lalit Modi has been calling the shots from the confines of London, daring his detractors and declaring, “My time has come…” As of now there is no assurance from the government that he would be brought home and brought to book. The government and the BJP have so far brazened it out so far. It is all right for Home Minister Rajnath Singh to say that his is NDA Government, and not UPA.

But these dismissive declarations are of no use in the face of mounting evidence fuelled by criticism from within the BJP. To make things worse, HRD Minister Smriti Irani is in row over her educational qualifications. The issue had cropped up soon after she took office and she had it coming. The defence that the documents she had submitted contained ‘typo’ does not wash.

These are bad times for BJP women leaders who have stormed the male bastion fighting odds. Accusations against Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde have coincided with the New Delhi/Jaipur crisis. Although not the cure of a crisis that could have been prevented with better vigil against graft than Modi reputedly maintains, keeping close tab on his colleagues, there is still scope for recovery. The key to, or the beginning of the resolution may lie in Modi speaking up. His next “Mann Ki Baat” broadcast is scheduled next Sunday.

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