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Opposition leaders are special target of CBIBy Lalit Sethi
By Lalit Sethi
Are rulers ever too happy to go in for witch-hunting of their political opponents and forget the wrongdoing of their own party men unless they become too hot a potato to ignore and let them off the hook? Or is there an unwritten agreement or political convention, which says: "Thou shall forgive and forget the sins of rivals and not be vengeful at all times". Is there some kind of a truth in both these epigrams?

In the Indian context, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his alter ego, Mr. Amit Shah, have recorded unparalleled successes in winning friends and influencing people of the political kind, beating Dale Carnegie's classical formulae hollow and bringing State after State under the BJP umbrella without batting an eyelid. How have they done it? Is it a miracle of our times, a miracle of the 21st Century? Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru might have been banyan trees of the Congress in their times and anyone with a ticket from them could win an election.

Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah are just about to beat their record. At the moment of writing they rule 16 of the 29 States of the Union and they have won over three more for the Presidential election without putting a BJP label on them. They are Bihar and Odisha as well as the two factions of the ruling and non-ruling AIADMK for the election of the Presidential candidate of Mr. Modi's choice.

They hope to add Himachal Pradesh to their kitty as the Congress Chief Minister faces corruption music and is being investigated by the CBI. So perhaps the Karnataka Congress Government as the State has seen a great deal of molestation of women and breaches of law and order even as the BJP and RSS fronts are kicking up mayhem over how girls should dress or socialize. Are all BJP men and women saffron robed and "Sati Savitris" like Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvis like Uma Bharti?

The case of Bihar may be curious or not really curious as the Supreme Court has ordered reopening of the Fodder Scam cases in which Mr. Lalu Prasad was convicted and barred from holding office for ten years. But the Central Bureau of Investigation has carried out a number of raids and claims to have uncovered properties, "Benami" as well as not "Benami" worth Rs. 1,000 crores owned by Lalu Yadav's daughter, Misa, and her husband in Delhi and elsewhere in North India. They claim that the purchase price of these properties over the past several years was less than Rs. 50 crores, though that amount was very substantial and would be even today for unborn politicians or those of recent vintage. Therein it is the rub for Lalu Prasad and family.

Already Mr. Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, has left the Opposition ranks and boycotted their meetings and his party, JDU, has decided to vote for the BJP Presidential candidate on July 17. Although Lalu Yadav's two sons are Ministers in the Nitish coalition government, but how long would they remain in office or be tolerated in office? The BJP, which was Mr. Nitish Kumar's coalition partner for five years, is trying hard to revive that arrangement; it appears inevitable after the new President is sworn in.

A number of BJP people are not bathed in the milk of the purest cows. The master craftsman in the game is Mr. Y.S.Yeddiurappa, a man who was forced to resign as Chief Minister for alleged land grab by his son in Karnataka, but though indicted by the Lokayukta, Mr. Hegde, Yeddy was let off by the courts for lack of evidence about his personal involvement.

He did float his own party for a while, but returned to the BJP fold and is hoping to become the Chief Minister again next year because he is a Lingayat, and Lingayats are heaven-born twice over and political saints and popular without question. It does not matter that two of his Ministers in his government, the Reddy Brothers, were indicted by the Lokayukta for running the "Republic of Bellary" with unquestioned sway over iron ore mines and a flag of their own as well as a helicopter, which was their laughable air force. They were never prosecuted in Karnataka, but in neighbouring Andhra where the boundaries of their "republic" extended. Whether they have completed their jail terms is not known, but they used to hold annual lavish prayers and who was their most important guest? None other than Mrs. Sushama Swaraj it was. To pray with a one-time jail bird is certainly not a sin!

But Mrs. Swaraj is known to be a lawyer of eminence with no blemish; and so is her husband, who has regularly defended Mr. Lalit Modi in courts as his extradition the Enforcement Directorate unsuccessfully seeks: nothing can be proved against Lalit Modi, a member of the Gujarmal Modi clan and a cricketing icon of the highest order and creator of IPL; a man relaxing in splendour but allegedly unhappily in a London mansion, as he angrily told Shekhar Gupta during a Walk the Talk show recently.

Politics or public life apart, even the faithful of many orders are often above the law unless caught cheating in several ways. The famous or not so famous Ten Commandments are often overlooked by humanity at large, including the clergy, who are expected to observe them, if not enforce them. One convenient way out was established by the Church in setting up the box with a priest hiding in it for confessions by the unfaithful so as to make life easier for them in the expectation of forgiveness and hope that they would not sin again.

Could these be explosive political issues in Italy, Poland, Germany, Austria, France and several other countries of Europe? The Italian leader, Berlusconi, overcame all problems in spite of his nightly exploits until he was forced to resign some years ago. Have there been other leaders in similar or less similar circumstances? There was one in Germany with a spy scandal involving his secretary long, long ago.

But to be sinning again and again is human nature and best of the robed and decorated clergy and nuns have been known to be sinful and lustful. The Poor Dear Pope of Rome is himself on the horns of a dilemma, but the Roman Catholic Church does not permit alliances or matrimony as yet, but the Protestant Church of England does as several other orders do.

Do many of the Orthodox Churches around the world allow matrimony? The Russian Orthodox Church is one of the largest in the world, and its headquarters are hidden away in a remote Greek Island. Believe it or not, the newest "Czar" of Russia, President Putin himself, has been to that hideout and is believed to be the unofficial monarch of nearly all Orthodox Churches around the globe with a following larger than that of Rome and all other groups of Christians put together, according to a detailed investigation by Time magazine a couple of years ago.

Lalit Sethi is a Journalist of long standing and a commentator on Political and Social Issues.

—[IFS]


News Updated at : Friday, July 14, 2017
 
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