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Friday, January 6, 2012

Corruption Remix!

Article first published as Your Liability, Our Asset! on Technorati.

Recently the main opposition party of India, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), inducted into its party fold an expelled minister of the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh—the largest northern state of India. The former minister, Babu Singh Kushwaha, was expelled by the Chief Minister of the state Mayawati due to his involvement in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam.

Under the NRHM scheme the Government of India had released around 100,000 million Indian rupees to the state to be utilized for rural health expenditures. Following murders of two Chief Medical Officers and one death under suspicious circumstances the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took up the case about two months back. Mayawati suspected Kushwaha’s involvement in the murders too apart from the gross misuse of the funds.

The BJP’s inspiration for this act was obvious. It wanted to garner more votes since assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh were round the corner. The expelled minister belonged to a particular caste and in this feudalistic state caste-politics had been the accepted norm. If the ruling party dismissed him for corruption another party would still expect to get the votes for him from the community he belonged to.  

The problem was that the BJP had been capitalizing on the anti-corruption movement all the while and had been making maximum gains by giving support to Team Anna. So now the party found itself under tremendous pressure from within the party and from all other political parties including the ruling coalition of India. To make matters worse the CBI as part of their investigations of the NRHM scam raided many places including the residence of Kushwaha just the day after his induction and an FIR was lodged against him. Rumors were doing the rounds about his impending arrest.

In an effort of damage control the BJP cried of conspiracy on the immaculate timing of the raids, but there were not many listeners. The party spokespersons hurriedly announced that the tainted inductee would not be given a ticket for fighting elections and that he would also not be used as a star campaigner.  The party still did not reverse its decision despite a palpable rift within the party. Instead, it preferred to send a huge delegation to the President of India requesting for a special session of Parliament to pass the deadlocked Lokpal Bill trying to emphasize its continued commitment to the fight against corruption. Even though it was still not clear who really sabotaged the passing of the Bill in the upper house on that night of December 29, 2011. The BJP embarrassment made Team Anna clueless about what to do in the forthcoming assembly elections. They finally announced that they would not any campaigning for the assembly elections.

For Indian politicians getting votes is such a tremendous urge that it makes them compromise on issues so often. They try to make amends the moment they feel the compromise is going to erode another vote bank.

Fight against corruption is finally subject to politics of vote.  Meanwhile CBI has made more arrests under the NRHM scam.
  

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