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Dirty Politics


Those who were so offended and agitated by Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat’s comment on torn jeans, are pretty silent about the political goings-on in Maharashtra. The social media storm of outrage that ought to have erupted is still awaited. This is the double-standard that exists in Indian politics, largely because of the doctrinal conditioning within the intellectual class. Very rarely is the objective approach adopted necessary for overall reform in the system.

It is not that this ‘collection’ business has been invented by Maharashtra’s Home Minister Anil Deshmukh – it has been the preferred means of raising financial resources by all parties, particularly those with narrow bases and regional constraints. In a coalition of the kind that the Maha Aghadi is, each component is desperate to monetise the opportunity while in power. It is not just the police that collects the ‘hafta’ for the Home Minister and the chain of command that extends down to the thana, every ‘lucrative’ department is in demand at the time when portfolios are being distributed. With the growing opportunism in politics and the increasing heft of smaller parties in politically splintered states, it was only a matter of time before the money grab reached the horrific proportions seen in the present case.

Had such a culture not existed, the allegations of Mumbai’s former top cop against the Home Minister, no less, would have shattered the political firmament. In a world where ministers are having to resign because they ventured forth without a mask or ignored social distancing, the Maharashtra Government is feeling far from threatened – even the issue of the Home Minister’s resignation is still being ‘discussed’. Properly, by now, President’s Rule should have been imposed on the state, but the Union Government is happy to let the Maha Aghadi run itself further into the ground. It wants the weak leadership of Uddhav Thackeray to be fully exposed. Or, have people believe he was also on the take.

The Congress and its support base in the media are hoping that the matter will go away if they keep their eyes tightly shut. The general idea is that compromising with any force – no matter how corrupt, violent or anti-national – is preferable to a BJP government. They expect to rise, phoenix like, from the resulting ashes with the blessings of their many, carefully cultivated, foreign enablers. In the meanwhile, Indian politics is going to the dogs.