Coalgate: The Promise of a Toothache.

Solid grounds exist to implicate the Prime Minister of India in the bungling in the coal sector while he was Minister. Now, if only we would stop harping on the virtual loss and instead focus on the virtual absence of responsibility and control that the PM exhibited, we might just get the country to see him for what he is – a toothless tiger! 

The Congress led UPA Government is straining for effect as it tries to fend off charges on the PM’s role in the Coal allocation losses that the CAG has reported. When portions of the yet un-ready report found way into media in March this year, a startling figure of close to Rs 10 lakh crores in losses was envisaged. That the CAG thought it prudent to trim the calculations to include only the blocks given to private parties and consequently came out with a more chastised figure of  losses amounting to Rs. 1.86 lakh crores did not, however do anything to lessen the stink.

The counter arguments thrown into the rink by Congress have ranged from casting aspersions, like the last time around, on the veracity of this figure of loss by the CAG to the role of states, many of which are led by the BJP and the other aspects of the licenses which were scrapped. But the general pathology of inaction that the entire sector suffered under the PM’s stewardship, in spite of pious declarations to the contrary, remains unexplained. That is the underlying basis of the congruent attack by the BJP and its essential argument – why would A. Raja, M. Maran and S. Kalmadi have to resign and not the PM for the precise, same principle?

At the peak of the telecom expose, there was an argument made out to suggest that responsibility and culpability are linked not only generically and administratively in government but also morally and intuitively. The BJP is therefore not wrong in pursuing its line of the queen’s gambit; there is a limit to everything and once that is crossed nothing matters, not ever propriety. The people feel it. Not for nothing is the criticism of obstructing the Parliament uncharacteristically muted this time around. The country has seen through this behaviour by the ruling junta as typical Congress bluster only until thoroughly and inescapably exposed.

All things considered, there is nothing to save the PM from the three fundamental charges that emanate out of the CAG’s observations. There was a nine year gap between the decision to clean up the stables, using the auction route and that was not allowed to happen. Procedural delay may be blamed for every other thing in the world, but if the nuclear bill could be passed by the same PM’s intransigence, why not this? In this convenient duration, private companies secured lucrative mining blocks without any credible assessment of their capacity or any reasonable criterion, a charge starkly reminiscent of the modus operandi in the telecom scam episode. And while nothing was done to expedite or escalate the process, contrarily, at least five qualified attempts were reportedly made by the PMO to delay committing to the auction policy. The rest, as they say, is semantics.

For a person who was the minister in charge then, apart from enjoying unmatched power on policy matters as Prime Minister, Dr. Man Mohan Singh stands guilty twice over. In fact, the oft repeated argument that he is personally an honest man is past its use-by date and needs to be debunked. The PM is not an honest bloke anymore and let us learn to live with that. A man who has single handedly destroyed all standards of probity in public life, presided over the most corrupt cabinet in India’s history and who will perhaps go down in political fables as more akin to Alibaba with his band of forty thieves, cannot be by any reckoning, the paragon of honesty any more.

In that context, the NDA’s collective strategy of demanding nothing but the PM’s resignation is acutely perceptive. It has seen the attempts by junior Congressmen to hustle their way through the JPC as a strong portend of the schematic arrangements that the Congress party has made to hide behind the dust raised by its troops. The manner in which the junior Minister of Parliamentary Affairs was caught on mike directing the Deputy Speaker to adjourn the house for the day, the manner in which the JPC members flagrantly derided the institution of the JPC, the manner in which they defend the continuation of the PM in spite of blinding evidence to the contrary and the manner in which the entire UPA stands on the stilts of the selective use of the CBI are reasons for any self respecting party to walk out on them.

For a country whose standards were set rather high, when in 1956 the Minister of Railways Lal Bahadur Shastri resigned on account of a train accident, merely on the grounds that it happened under his watch to a regime which sees no wrong in the voluminous corruption that has flourished under the current PM, we have come a long way, and back.

The disingenuous incredulity of Congress members in asking why the PM should resign if he is not personally and directly accused of wrong doing, is utterly criminal. After all, what does the Congress fix as a threshold for dishonesty; what is the ceiling it puts on the index of corruption? What level of graft is good enough and what precise method of corruption do they prefer before it becomes in their eyes, valid for repentance and resignation? The nation would like to know.

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Comments
One Response to “Coalgate: The Promise of a Toothache.”
  1. Mrs R Iyer says:

    Very Well Written! However Congress will focus only on the very tangible virtual amount & keep ridiculing it again & again so as to hoodwink people, through their friends in the media.

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