THE UPA ANGLE
Make no mistake about it. The two topmost women leaders of the BJP have sullied their own image and, along with them, of their party as well. They were wrong in doing things one would not normally do. And if somehow one felt obliged to, would do so in full view of the world without a guilty conscience. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj helped the well-cosseted Lalit Modi, who has taken to firing Twitter missiles daily from the safety of his London mansion, to procure the vital travel documents. Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje sought to impress the British that Modi ought to be given residency because he was a victim of persecution by the UPA government.
Now, it is not that the disgraced IPL czar is the only sports racketeer we know. We all have heard of someone called Suresh Kalmadi, haven't we? But the problem with LaMo was that he had inherited wealth and counted the high and mighty of the land as his friends. Raje and he go back several decades. But instead of being open about it, she invited suspicion when she told the British to keep her affidavit secret. You want to help a friend who you believe is a victim of a vendetta, do it by all means. But why do it in the dark of night?
Indeed, in the fortnight-long noise over the airwaves on the "Lalitgate", a possible line of examination failed to get a mention. Given that N. Srinivasan, the deposed BCCI czar, was engaged in a bitter fight with LaMo, did he enlist the support of a powerful UPA minister who then went out of his way to hound the former IPL boss?
It is an angle worth exploring. For, we cannot recall when an Indian government had written to the UAE or some other West Asian regime, threatening a slump in ties should Dawood Ibrahim find shelter there. Therefore, how do you explain P. Chidambaram's caution to his British counterpart George Osborne that any help to LaMo might jeopardise Indo-British ties? Suspicion of vendetta cannot be ruled out, especially when nothing was done by the investigating agencies for over three years after LaMo left the country.
The danger in relying on slippery customers like Lalit Modi to embarrass political rivals is that there is no knowing whom his Twitter missile would hit next. The Congress was lapping up the wise sayings of LaMo as if these were gospel truth to embarrass Sushma Swaraj and her feckless husband, Swaraj Kaushal, who got himself designated senior counsel by the faraway Sikkim High Court.
But when loose cannon LaMo took a potshot at Varun Gandhi, the BJP MP and a first cousin of Rahul and Priyanka, instead of smirking at the constant flow of electronic ammunition, there was consternation in the Congress camp. For, the missile aimed at Varun had actually damaged his "auntie" Sonia far more.
Expectedly, the Congress leaders competed with one another to rubbish that particular tweet. All other tweets by Modi, the party seemed to believe, were one hundred percent reliable.
However, defenders of Sonia Maino Gandhi should remember that she did not acquire Indian citizenship until after the death of Sanjay Gandhi when it became amply clear that Indira Gandhi would entrust the family business to her elder son and Sonia's husband, Rajiv. By the way, there are still a number of people around who will vouchsafe for many of the stories circulating about her.
GOVT OF, BY, FOR KEJRIWAL
With each passing day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party get further discredited. It is because quite contrary to his constant refrain, for Kejriwal AAP is only a vehicle to advance his own personal ambitions. For Kejriwal mein is important, not aap or ordinary citizens.
Anyone ready to sift through his claims would find Kerjiwal hypocritical and opportunistic. He is a hoax, a pakhandi. The fact that his monthly power bill at his residence is nearly Rs 1 lakh, only underlines the deception he practises. For, while moving into the CM's bungalow, a story was planted in the media that the Delhi PWD was ordered to remove the air-conditioners from his residential quarters.
Everyone lapped up that box-item in the papers, but that was false. The electricity bill now confirms that those ACs were never removed. For a moment, let us agree with his PRO, who, by the way, helps himself to a tidy sum of over Rs 1 lakh plus other perks such as free house, vehicle, phone, etc., when he says that the actual bill for Kejriwal's house is only Rs 15,000 a month. Now, which aam aadmi can afford to pay Rs 15,000 a month in electricity charges alone? Most upper-income families are careful not to spend so much on power every month. But aam aadmi Kejriwal can. Because taxpayers are picking up the tab.
Indeed, it will be interesting to know what the actual monthly bill of Kejriwal was when he was obliged to pay his own bills before becoming a full-time politician. Honesty and genuine social service involves a lot of self-denial and selflessness. Kejriwal's conduct belies that spirit of self-denial, though he likes to project himself as a paragon of simple living and high thinking. Wearing his shirt out of his trousers is part of that self-projection. Not everyone can resist creature comforts, especially when someone else is paying for them. All that talk about not taking big bungalows, big cars while in government was only so much of empty talk.
Even the provision of a whopping Rs 526 crore in the Delhi budget for 2015-16 underlines Kejriwal's obsession with Kejriwal. It will be used for his projection. The argument that the money would be used to advertise good work by the Delhi government is hollow. Good work can speak for itself. The people in Delhi too have eyes and ears. They don't want their hard-earned money wasted on countless radio jingles meant to glorify Kejriwal.