Corruption scandals are to India as ozone depletion is to the polar regions. People will continue to speculate about the enormity of such frauds as it depletes the nation’s resources. And that is exactly what the 2G spectrum allotment scam involving former Union minister for telecommunications A Raja has achieved – with the CBI first estimating the loss to the exchequer at around `20,000 crore, a figure that gradually ballooned to `140,000 crore, thanks to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
As predicted, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have stoutly denied that Raja had no role to play in what can be righty claimed as the Watergate of Indian scams. Even the Adarsh Housing Society scam or the veil surrounding the expenditure accounts for the Commonwealth Games pales into insignificance and makes them look like a child attempting to steal a cookie.
The average citizen may, however, shrug his shoulders and say, “What’s new? It is after all just another corruption scandal. This is the bane of the nation.” The scandal may not be new, but the amount of money involved definitely is. The UPA government that was in the process of putting up a brave front following the resignations of tainted ministers - Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra CM and the minister who had to face the ignominy of getting booed during the CWG inaugural ceremony, Suresh Kalmadi, and, at the same time, trying to convey that it will not tolerate corruption, could not do the same with Raja, despite the allegations in the 2G spectrum scandal breaking out a few months ago. Reason: The UPA is functioning at the Centre at the fancy of the DMK, an important coalition partner, and even a statement otherwise might displease them.
Opting to keep the TN constituent of the UPA in good humour, even ‘Mr Clean’ Singh vouched for Raja’s credentials. Until J Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi’s bête noire extended an olive branch to the beleaguered central government, urging them to initiate action against the legislator from the Nilgiris. This now had the DMK scurrying for cover as it knew its very existence at the Centre was under
threat and that it could not get away with its high-handed manner, at least not for the time being. Doing an instant volte-face, Raja tendered his resignation and proclaimed that he was doing so to prevent the disruption of the functioning of the Parliament (as if he was under the assumption it was functioning smoothly until now). It must be agreed without contention that AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa’s offer of support of 18 MLAs to the UPA government is the substrate as well as the catalyst for the process of Raja’s ouster, something that the UPA may have been dying to so until now, but did not fearing the repercussions of such a process.
In the process, Poes Garden’s first VIP (Superstar Rajinikanth being the second), has knowingly or unwittingly opened the avenue for a newer method to tackle corruption in the nation. Age-old criticisms at the electorate, particularly urban voters, such as “You did not exercise your franchise, so how can you expect better leaders,” may not hold water anymore. Instead of voting, contest the elections and win by hook or by crook. Most importantly, win the support of a barrage of legislators and ministers, before launching into your anti-corruption drive, a theme that has been done to death in many a “one-man against the system” movie.
Jai Hind, or is it Jaya He?