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Inability to do anything about Robert Vadra – will the BJP pay ?




There are a number of people who have an incredible faith in the BJP, that it is indeed a party with a difference with much lower levels of corruption. And Modi is a symbol of all that, he has no children who can gain from any corruption, that he has led Gujarat without any corruption for more than a decade, and so on; and to some extent, all that is true. However, there are others who believe that the Congress and BJP are the same, both have their own levels of corruption and one should not really hope for too much. The BJP has been impacted by corruption in the past, where it had to dump a Chief Minister in Karnataka because of perceived corruption, and had to change another chief minister in Uttarakhand before polls so to try and project a honest image (the existing one was seen to be totally corrupt) – in both the cases, the population was not impressed and did not vote the BJP back to power.
In 2014 however, the Congress had been ruling for 10 years and even though the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was seen to be as not corrupt, he was also perceived to be a dummy with the true control of power being in the hands of the Gandhis. They have apparently learnt a lot from Sharad Pawar about how to operate from behind the public image in terms of making money, but one member of the family was seen as an emblem of corruption and misuse of power. This was Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of the family and the husband of Priyanka Gandhi. It did not help the party that along with this corruption, there were many other evidence of corruption that kept the Government on edge for almost the entire last 5 years. By the time the 2014 Lok Sabha elections came, everybody knew the writing on the wall. The Congress tried to be brave, but knew it would be whipped, the BJP and Narendra Modi were all ready to take power and the other parties knew they would not be able to do anything.

The BJP used the public distaste with corruption and the particular distaste for the machinations by Robert Vadra to drive a winning campaign, especially in the states of North India. Already, a few months back, the party had used some land deals done by Vadra’s company as part of the election campaign and had come to power in the state of Rajasthan. However, in a sign that there was not really going to be any change, there was really nothing that was done by the Rajasthan Government against Vadra or the dealings done by him (there was one cancellation of land allotment, but that was about all the action that was done).
With the 2014 elections, there was a hope that there will be some change. One change seems to be that there is not really any sign of major corruption within the upper reaches of Government (what is called big ticket deals), although the corruption levels faced by the citizens in day to day work does not seem to have come down (dealing with police, tax, land records, you name the department, and there are hassles faced by people and there really does not seem to be any change in that respect). The Lokpal passed by Parliament is a non-starter, the Government is not going to take any further move in this regard even though it has been 2 years now. The same usage of the CBI as in the Congress era, where opponents are threatened by the CBI for political purposes, and so on.
However, it is on the case of Vadra that the lack of action is most strong. Digvijay Singh, the Congress version of Subramaniam Swamy, made a statement once that the major parties do not take action on close relatives of the leaders no matter what they may have done (and hinted that is why the Congress did not take any action on the controversial nephew of Atal Behari Vajpayee). The BJP denied this, but their actions are to the same effect. The deeds of Robert Vadra are thrown up when there is any kind of controversy or a need to attack the Congress, but if you were to ask the BJP about why there is no concrete action against him 2 years after the BJP came to power, you are either met with silence, with a redirect, or some other kind of attempt to brazen this away. And this is true for the other major scams of the Congress era, with almost no expediting of any cases (the ones that come to attention is when the CBI is closing one or the other case of the CWG scam).
The BJP may think that there can be attempt to use the Vadra story again during the 2019 elections for fighting the Congress (after all, the BJP keeps on reminding people about the misdeeds of Dijvijay Singh when he was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, even though it was a long time back); but people are not really stupid. The last time, the BJP won because the Congress was seen as hopelessly corrupt, after 5 years of reign, the BJP better have its own story about development as well as what it has done to stop and punish the corruption that has happened. The number of seats the BJP won in the Hindi heartland states was incredible, not easy to repeat again.




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