By Soroor Ahmed (NVONews.Com)
On April 28 Bangaru Laxman perhaps became the first ruling party president in the world to be convicted for four years for accepting a bribe of Rs one lakh in the party headquarters in New Delhi.
The court ruling took the steam out of the so-called campaign against corruption of the BJP, which always poses itself as the party with a difference. Unlike other scams this was the one in which the whole world saw on TV as to how money changed hands.
But why just denounce Bangaru Laxman? What about the BJP itself? After all the crime was committed in the party headquarters and money hurriedly slipped into the drawer. Was the ruling party of the country and its the then president so poor that they did not wait a moment before accepting money from a couple of strange persons? Or, is it that the party follows the policy of let money come from any source.
The tehelka.com shot not only exposed Bangaru Laxman, the first Dalit president of the party, but also the BJP itself. Its ally the Samata Party––Janata Dal (United) was then known by this name––also earned bad name. Its the then president, Jaya Jaitley, was also caught on camera dealing with these fake arms dealers, though she herself did not accept money.
Since she was a close associate of the then defence minister, George Fernandes, in whose house the drama was enacted, the latter had to quit the Vajpayee ministry amidst mounting pressure from the opposition.
The BJP and Janata Dal (United) are sharing power in Bihar under the leadership of the most trusted lieutenant of George and Jaya Jaitley, that is, Nitish Kumar.
Today the BJP may quickly try to disown Bangaru Laxman, but what about the money itself? What about the role of the Samata Party or say today’s Janata Dal (United) bigwigs?
The tehelka expose gave Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee an opportunity to quit the Vajpayee cabinet. The truth was that she wanted to join hands with the Congress to contest Assembly election in West Bengal later that year.
But when she was routed in the Assembly election, Mamata left the Congress to rejoin the NDA. Soon George Fernandes too was re-inducted into the cabinet.
Bangaru became an untouchable, though on paper he he remained the member of the national executive of the BJP.
The court may have sentenced Bangaru, an individual, to four years imprisonment, but the in the eyes of the people’s court the BJP and Janata Dal (United) have lost the much bigger case. The court ruling has deprived them of any moral right, to at least speak on the issue of corruption.
Rightly or wrongly while Rajiv Gandhi was cleared by none else but the court in Bofors case when the NDA was in power in 2004 and Lalu Yadav acquitted in disproportionate asset case, a very important case in the fodder scam, in December 2006, when Nitish Kumar was the chief minister of Bihar, the national president of the BJP has actually been convicted.
True large scale loot of money might have been made in 2G Spetrum Scam or Commonwealth Games, yet the final judgement is yet to come.
The irony is that the BJP bigwigs––and Janata Dal (United) leaders too––are putting up a ‘brave’ face and behaving as if no crime has been committed by anyone.