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Throwing Tantrums


TMC MP Mahua Moitra has, once again, very deftly played the victim card by storming out of the Parliamentary Ethics Committee meeting, claiming she was asked unacceptably ‘intrusive’ questions about her personal life. She was backed up in this regard by some opposition members of the committee, who also participated in the dramatic exit. So, the quid pro quo question still remains unanswered.

Similarly, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has questioned ‘in which capacity’ he has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate and attributed it to ‘extraneous’ considerations. While seeking these clarifications and refusing to appear before the ED, he has also alleged it was a political move to prevent him from campaigning for his party in the ongoing state assembly elections.

Both of these politicians are clearly seeking to buy time as they face serious allegations regarding misuse of their official positions, on the basis of substantial evidence. A number of Kejriwal’s now former ministers are languishing in jail and have been unable to obtain bail from the courts. Kejriwal’s is the last wicket standing, which if knocked over would create a major crisis in the Aam Aadmi Party. Kejriwal knows that, should some other party member take over the reins in his absence, there is no certainty that he would not be permanently sidelined. After all, he did the same with colleagues who were with him in the Anna Hazare movement. He needs to stay out of the clink for at least as long as the results to the assembly elections are announced and, hopefully, the BJP loses ground. He can then more forcefully question the Union Government’s mandate to act against ‘political rivals’.

In Mahua Moitra’s case, the evidence of wrong-doing is pretty strong. She is in danger of losing her seat in Parliament, even have a criminal case instituted against her. The tactic, therefore, is to accuse the Ethics Committee of bias, in which she has already received the cooperation of the opposition members. The legitimacy of whatever action is taken will then be questioned and, maybe, a parliamentary session disrupted on the issue. The attempt will be made to generate sympathy for her among the public, which in the present day largely means social media. This may pressurise the BJP to go easy on her, unlikely at it may seem.

If, both, Moitra and Kejriwal had a strong case, they would argue it on the basis of facts. All the drama is only going to create further suspicion that the charges are likely to stick.