There is a reason why the mature democracies run more by convention than merely the rule-book. It has to do with the fact that morality is above the law. Someone who abides by a higher moral code does not have to worry about what the law says. On the other hand, merely staying within the law is what tax-dodgers look to do, instead of the right thing.
The exposes on Nitin Gadkari had not left him with any credibility whatsoever and he should have left the political stage gracefully. Instead, his has been an ignominious departure, as his presence became an increasing embarrassment for the BJP. It goes to the credit of the BJP that there were enough leaders who openly expressed their displeasure with his continuation as Party President and prepared the conditions that led to the RSS throwing in the towel. It proves that in spite of everything, the party remains a democratic entity. By removing Gadkari without ceremony, it has recovered considerable ground and has enough time before the general elections to become a potent force.
In light of this experience, the RSS must reconsider its role vis-a-vis the BJP. It must also revisit its ideology, which is getting extremely outdated, a debility the religion that inspires it does not suffer. It should limit its role to providing a well-trained and selfless cadre for the political role the BJP plays, but leave politics to the politicians. In fact, the very role it ought to be playing – that of ensuring the BJP’s moral bearings – was exactly what it abandoned for expediency in the case of Gadkari.
The high constitutional and political positions should be above any kind of taint. Those who enter politics should ensure, from the time they set foot in the arena, that they keep their hands clean. The best way to do this, as stated earlier, is to abide by a high moral code. There is any number of persons in history who can serve as inspiration – in particular Mahatma Gandhi. Indeed, those who manage to establish their credentials in this way can actually take the most enormous risks, something that lesser mortals cannot.
After this, the Congress will definitely suffer in comparison. It has chosen to go the other way by actually promoting or rehabilitating those who have charges of corruption against them. The people have come to realise that the nation’s efforts are being undone by the cancer of corruption. They realise that a more contemporary alternative is required to that which is on offer. The Congress has made a show of changing its spots, but only the days to come will show if there is any sincerity in its efforts. Can it purge itself of the corrupt? Or is it just hoping to paint everybody with the same brush to escape being identified as the ‘fountainhead of corruption’, a charge often thrown at it from across the political spectrum? The BJP can make the choice easier by making the contrast even starker by articulating and practicing a credible and transparent policy.