Mahatma Gandhi's soul would shrivel and Jawaharlal Nehru's soul would be agonized witnessing their political legacy to India, the Congress Party, morally crumbling and stooping to engineer its victory in the 'Trust Vote' in the Indian Parliament on July 22 2008 at any cost. India at large excluding its thick skinned polity was scandalized and agonized when in the previous week and on the two days of the Special Parliament Session, India's TV channels constantly exposed the murky and morally reprehensible behind the scenes efforts to win the Trust Vote at any cost. The prevailing perception in the Indian public is that just because the Congress Party had 'out-sourced' the task of poaching of vulnerable Opposition MPs to its side, to its new found allies and other wheeler dealers , this itself does not provide plausible deniability exits for the Congress President and the Congress Prime Minister.
India's agony on witnessing the murky political maneuvers to engineer a win is not confined to this Columnist alone. It finds reflection across a widespread Indian spectrum in the media , blog-sites and the comments section of TV channels. The following paragraphs quoting from media publications reflect this agony.
In my opinion the most eloquent portrayal of the political happenings came from a piece written by Shanker Aiyer in India Today. Some of his more telling observations are quoted below;
- 'Satyameva Jayate may be the credo of India but in Indian politics, truth is an abstraction of expediency.'
- 'Politicians have interpreted truth to suit their political ends'
- 'In the name of 'national interest' India has been given short shrift and the voter rendered a mute spectator in the world's largest functioning democracy. In the naked dance for power, icons have exposed their feet of clay.
- 'Once dubbed 'Mr Integrity', the Prime Minister finds himself in the company of promiscuous deal makers'
Prabhu Chawla in the same Magazine candidly observes on the goings 'on of Congress President's enlisting the services of Amar Singh of the Samajwadi Party in connection with the Trust Vote:
- 'Suddenly the forbidding gates of 10 Janpath (residence of Mrs Sonia Gandhi) opened for Amar Singh who for the Gandhis was an 'Evil Incarnate' till the other day.'
- Referring to a secret meeting of Rahul Gandhi and Amar Singh at an undisclosed location, he remarked that 'It was not certainly a meeting of the minds but two disparate politicians'the potential Kingmaker and the Crown Prince---united by their survival instincts'
The newspaper Times of India (not known for any proximity to the BJP) made some pertinent observations on the manner of victory won in the Trust Vote:
- 'Had all the MPs voted according to their respective party's diktats ( the whips issued), the MPs in favor of the motion (Congress/UPA) would have been 261, those against (in favor of the Opposition) 277' In other words the Congress Government would have stood defeated'
- The 19 vote victory for the Congress came ' in one of the murkiest contests in parliamentary history---a contest in which charges of bribery and misuse of CBI drowned all other substantive issues on debate.'
Obviously, the MPs who cross-voted from the Opposition in favor of the Congress Government were not impelled by any stirrings of conscience or intellectual underpinnings of support for the Nuclear Deal. Their motives can be read as otherwise.
It is being widely perceived that the Congress may have won a numerical victory in Parliament but morally they have lost considerably in the perceptions of the Indian public.
In an ironic twist the Congress Government which in 2004 commenced its governance with a 'tainted' Council of Ministers, followed by the reported unabashed complicity in the exoneration of Octavio Quattorochhi, family friend of the Gandhis, and the defreeze of his Bofors bribes funds, should be nearing the end of its tenure with a 'tainted victory' in the Trust Vote as observed by the Leader of the Opposition.
India's Leftist Parties in a way need to be complimented for withdrawing political support to the Congress Government. Had they not done so India as a whole would not have been sensitized and exposed to the murky dealings that India's politicians resort to for surviving in power at any cost.
Lastly, while the Congress Government may have won the Trust Vote numerically, the Congress Party stands greatly 'diminished' as was observed in an earlier Column and India's global image severely dented, also highlighted in an earlier Column. Both Columns were written a couple of weeks before July 22. Hence the portents were already there.
In the remaining few months of its tenure this Congress Government could crumble any day as Trust Vote 'paybacks' demands start spiraling from those who decided to opportunistically support its bid for victory.