To resign or not isn't the question at all. Resigning is hot and how! It guarantees an instant aura of angelic greatness and a principled high ground. Both these properties, although declared extinct amongst politicians decades ago, are much coveted today. Come controversy and the easiest way out is to put in your papers and go to the people to seek justice. What happened to the judiciary and the law of the land? These don't assure greatness silly!
Who would have thought two weeks ago, that a maneuver to disqualify Jaya Bachchan could result in Sonia Gandhi herself facing the heat! The office-of-profit scandal (OOPS) which originated in Lucknow two weeks made its way to New Delhi on March 22nd. After an aborted attempt by the ruling party to introduce an amendment to the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959 to exclude the post of National Advisory Council Chairman from the list of offices of profit, Mrs. Gandhi offered generously and selflessly to resign on March 23rd. No prizes for guessing who is the current Chairman of the NAC for whom the law was being conveniently amended by her helpful party - Ms. Morality herself!
But then one resignation doesn't make an Indian storm. I am certain OOPS will claim a couple of more heads, but none is as prized as Mrs. Gandhi's. Hence yesterday more than 25 MLAs and MPs from her party volunteered to quit, expressing solidarity with their leader in this moment of crisis. However their offer has been politely declined, lest it cloud the saintly halo she has acquired through her Supreme Sacrifice.
If Mrs. Gandhi wishes to achieve a moral high ground, why doesn't she reveal how a person who is not even a graduate and holds a highly questionable diploma from Cambridge in English is today the chairperson of numerous trusts such as the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Trust, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and many, many more. All of these trusts receive massive grants from the government, which is tax payers' money for the uninitiated. I am certain that there are qualifications required for smooth functioning of these trusts and I am sure that Mrs. Gandhi possesses all of these and many more. I just wish she would list them on her resume for all to see.
And the Ms Morality Title Goes to....
Let's go over some more facts about Ms. Morality! Sonia marries Rajiv Gandhi on 25 February, 1968 but chooses to apply for Indian citizenship only fifteen years later, on 7 April, 1983, one whole year after her husband's reluctant entry into politics. But then she claims she always felt 'Indian'. Wonder of that is sufficient reason for applying for nationality!
Politics and petty gains apart, it is about time that the judiciary puts a stop to the mockery of the democratic process. There has to be a firm law in place that disallows people from resigning whenever they want and re-contesting. A person who resigns from his office as an elected representative should be barred from fighting for a reelection from the same constituency for a period of five years. We the electorate do not cast our vote so that you politicians can play political monopoly in Parliament. We vote so that you make decisions to make our lives easier.
Why all this fuss? How much can elections cost an average constituency? Organizing an election is an expensive exercise not only for the local administration but also for all the political parties concerned. According to an estimate it costs the administration approximately Rs. 3 crores to organize a Lok Sabha election. Put in the costs incurred by the various political parties on canvassing and promoting their candidates. Add the man hours lost by the administration on the election which otherwise would have been used in governance. Plus now include the cost the thousands of man hours lost in campaigning, attending election meetings and finally voting itself. And suddenly the tally is not just Rs. 3 crores.
Everyone complains that the health, education and infrastructure sectors have massive requirements - maybe this money could be better spent there. Unfortunately Mrs. Gandhi is so blinded by her own radiance that she can't see beyond insignificant political profits! Too bad Rae Bareilly - do you realize how much you are shelling out for Mrs. Gandhi's morality test!