After the CBI raided DMK leader Mr. MK Stalin the Prime Minister (PM) and Finance Minister (FM) publicly criticized the move and claimed ignorance. The CBI works under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Mr. Narainasamy is the Minister of State in the PMO directly overlooking the CBI. Mr. Narainasamy is a known Mrs. Sonia Gandhi loyalist. The statements of the PM and FM revealed that he had failed in his duty to keep the cabinet informed before sanctioning the raid. He should have been sacked. Recognizing his vulnerability and huge embarrassment to Mrs. Gandhi, the Congress General Secretary Mr. Digvijay Singh stated that the present system of two power centres headed by the PM and Mrs. Gandhi was not working well. He said that in the future Mr. Rahul Gandhi should not therefore appoint another incumbent but assume the post of PM himself.
Despite the government’s vulnerability the opposition remained silent even though this issue had been highlighted in these columns. Now, after a considerable interval Congress spokesperson Mr. Janardhan Dwivedy has made a statement that the system of two power centres was working very well. He contradicted Mr. Digvijay Singh’s earlier statement.
Why this belated rebuttal?
Reading between the lines Mr. Dwivedy seemed to indicate that Mr. Manmohan Singh may continue for a third term and Mr. Rahul Gandhi need not replace him. This can be interpreted as surrender by the Sonia Gandhi system because there is enough ammunition to sack Mrs. Gandhi’s loyalist, Mr. Narainasamy. Could he possibly embarrass Mrs. Gandhi by making her responsible for the raid? After Mr. Dwivedy’s rebuttal of Mr. Digvijay Singh, Mr. Narainasamy is secure. This is how the game seems to be playing within the divided Congress.
Unfortunately the opposition is nowhere in the picture. Not once did any opposition leader demand explanation for the glaring contradictions exposed by the statements of the CBI Director on the one hand, and by the PM and FM on the other, related to the CBI raid against Mr. Stalin. If both sides were speaking the truth Mr. Narainasamy deserved to be sacked. And yet the opposition remained mute.
There is another example of the opposition’s curious apathy in deeds in contrast to its loud opposition through words.
It may be recalled that the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) Chairman Mr. P Chacko had rejected 2G scam accused Mr. A Raja from deposing before the JPC. Thereafter BJP leader Mr. Yashwant Sinha swung into action. Quite rightly he demanded that Mr. Raja be heard and he followed his demand with a letter to the PM urging him to appear before the JPC to clear his name. Mr. Raja has accused the PM and FM of being complicit in all decisions he took while granting the 2G Spectrum licenses. If the BJP is serious about getting answers from the PM and not in merely scoring debating points for propaganda it has no need to depend upon Mr. Chacko, Mr. Raja or even the PM. There is enough evidence available to nail the PM and FM as abettors of corruption in the 2G scam and challenge them in court.
A Finance Ministry note prepared on March 25, 2011 and leaked to the press had clearly indicated that though Mr. Chidambaram as FM had initially opposed Mr. Raja’s decision he did not prevent him. Subsequently Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, Mr. Chidambaram’s successor as FM, sent a note to the PM which made clear that the March 25 note had been prepared with inputs from the Law, Telecom and Finance ministries. In other words the cabinet was fully aware of Mr. Raja’s decisions as recorded in a note prepared one week before he was booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under various sections of Prevention of Corruption Act. However, it was the Supreme Court that ordered the CBI to investigate Mr. Raja one week after the March 25 note had been prepared. Nobody in the cabinet took any action.
The Prevention of Corruption Act is explicit that even without direct complicity or motive of profit if any official is aware of the state being defrauded and does not act to prevent it, he or she becomes an abettor open to criminal prosecution. By the evidence already available it can be argued that the PM and his senior colleagues are guilty of abetting corruption in the 2G Spectrum case and liable to jail sentences ranging from six months to five years. Therefore with all respect to Mr. Yashwant Sinha the opposition does not need cooperation from the PM, Mr. Raja or Mr. Chacko to corner the government. The BJP can move the courts to put the government in the dock.
All this had been written at length in these columns in September 2011. The opposition did not react then. It is not reacting now. Meanwhile the Congress goes through its twists and turns with Mr. Digvijay Singh saying one thing and Mr. Dwivedy the opposite while the Congress merrily continues with inner party intrigue secure in the knowledge that there is no opposition worth the name. If there was a genuine opposition would it not have acted on the numerous opportunities offered to it for delivering a knockout punch?
Ah, if there was an opposition… That is a very big if! Every country has a government. Only democratic nations have the luxury of fielding an opposition. If there is no opposition there is no genuine democracy. In India the opposition exists only in name. It grandstands and blusters to create the illusion of an opposition. But when does it ever act?