Another chapter of moral degradation and bankruptcy of Indian politics was written last week when news channels broadcast footage showing Karnataka state Minister for Cooperation Laxman Savadi sharing a porn video with C.C. Patil, minister for women and child development, while sitting in the state assembly of Karnataka.
These two ministers along with the owner of the phone, state Minister for Ports, Science and Technology Krishna Palemar, have stepped down. Patil has reportedly insisted that they were not deliberately looking at pornography.
He said: 'We are requesting the honourable Speaker of the House to conduct an inquiry and we'll come out with a clean chit.' "I have resigned to prevent any embarrassment to the party. All three of us will prove our innocence," Mr Savadi said. Mr Patil had previously suggested that professional women should "cover up" to avoid sexual harassment or attacks. Use of cell phones is prohibited in the state legislature when the assembly and the council are in session. Mobile jammers inside the monolithic building, however, have not been functioning due to a snag that remained unattended for weeks by the secretariat staff.
In addition to the fact that one of the ministers watching porn was also the minister for women and child development, it is even more sad and ironical that all the three ministers belong to the Bharatiya Janata Party which rules the state and is also the main opposition party at the national level, the party which at one time was an embodiment of principles, character, nationalism and morality. Unlike politicians from other parties, they were in politics for social service and to give something to the country...they believed in serving the country...they did not become rich overnight because of their political affiliation and activities. We may or may not agreed with their political ideology but their personal integrity was always above suspicion. I am talking of the BJP in the past...a historical perspective.
It is not a secret that I am very close to some very powerful people from both the Congress party and the BJP. When it comes to friendship, I draw a line where it does not affect my objectivity. We both respect each other's thinking and the relationship has endured the test of time. Since this is an article about BJP's mishap with character and morality, I would try to discuss the direction and the path of BJP's journey.
There is a general consensus in the country that the BJP is a party without a head. Even though Nitin Gadkari is the president of the party, his face and image is not identifiable by the majority of the Indian population. The party is counting on the fact that the image of the Congress party is totally tarnished because of the 2G, CWG and other scams and by default, people would vote for BJP. They are counting on the negativilty of the Congress party to come to power rather than the positivity of their own message. The party totally failed to build the second rung of leadership. After Vajpayee and Advani, there is not a single person in the party who has a national appeal.
Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj are supposedly the PM in waiting for the party. Arun Jaitley never fought any Assembly or Parliamentary election in his life. The last election he fought was for the presidency of Delhi University Student's Union in 1977. I remember seeing him on the campus of Patna University in 1977 when he was campaigning for ABVP (student wing of BJP) candidates. I also fought and won the election as an independent candidate. Sushma Swaraj, on the other hand, has been in the middle of electoral politics...fought a lot of elections including the one against Sonia Gandhi from Bellary in Karnataka where Sonia polled 51.7 % of the votes and Sushma got 44.7 %. She won the 2009 election to the 15th Lok Sabha from the Vidisha constituency in Madhya Pradesh by a highest margin of 4.01 lakh votes. She has been awarded the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award twice. If it was not for her, Sonia Gandhi would have become the PM in 2004. In a heavily publicized and emotionally charged episode following the elections, Sushma Swaraj threatened to shave her head, don a white saree and eat groundnuts (symbolically mourning) if Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born Congress leader, became Prime Minister of India. I have been told that Sonia Gandhi even called Vajpayee to discuss this issue and he also advised her that India is not ready for a person of a foreign origin to be the PM.
There is no doubt that Sushma Swaraj looks good compared to Arun Jaitley and others in the party but she also does not have what it takes to lead the party in the national election and bring it to power. The dynamics of the Indian population has changed...50% of the population is below 35 years of age. It is very hard for them to identify themselves with L K Advani, Arun Jaitley or Sushma Swaraj. BJP totally failed to build leadership in that age range. Congress realised the importance of it and is using Rahul, Priyanka, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora, Sandeep Dixit and others in their election campaigns. BJP, which ruled Uttar Pradesh at one time has been relegated to the fourth position, as per some poll projections, in the UP assembly elections after SP, BSP and the Congress. A young leader only can resonate with a young population. There is also some people in the BJP who feel that Advani can still lead the party in 2014. If a 84 year old person can resonate with such a young and vibrant India, there is a problem with our young India. It is like expecting a 25 year old to be a die hard fan of Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor. They cannot compare themselves with the Congress party in terms of developing the second rung of leadership. The next generation of the Gandhi family is the secong rung of leadership. Everyone else close to the family is nothing else but a GLORIFIED durbari. I would not be surprised if some people are already trying to cultivate Priyanka's children.
The party of Vajpayee has to reinvent itself and present itself before the Indian public as a viable alternative. They should not try to ride the coattails of the negativity of the Congress party to come to power. They have to fight the public perception that BJP has no direction. They ought to have a solid message. They should work on ruling the hearts of the people before ruling Indraprastha, the old name for Delhi. There should be a zero tolerance for unfair activities. The video saga has definitely lowered the image of the party. They have to establish the correlation between what they preach and what they practice. They cannot wax eloquence on morality just as a political position. According to ADR '“ India, a watchdog for electoral reforms, BJP has given tickets to a lot of people with criminal background in the UP elections. I feel that BJP is living in a bubble of ignorance and self glorification. The party has gone into oblivion and they do not have much time to resurrect itself...the next parliamentary election is not far away. If they do not work very hard on it, the dream of L K Advani, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj to bring the party back to power and become the PM would be exactly like their dream...ONLY A DREAM. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Congress is strong because BJP is weak.
I sometimes wonder that what happened to our values of the past depicted in this song.