Just a day before Nitin Gadkari was re-elected as the national president of Bharatiya Janata Party on September 28, a non-governmental organization, India Against Corruption released details of allegations against the man of the moment by one of its volunteer and whistleblower Anjali Damania.
Damania alleged that she was rebuffed by the BJP leader when she met him to seek support for her campaign against corruption in irrigation projects. Gadkari apparantly told her that he knew Sharad Pawar ‘very well’. Following her allegations, Gadkari slapped a legal notice on Damania seeking a public apology from her for “slandering and defaming him”.
The Congress-led UPA government has been fighting a perception battle on corruption for a long time now with CWG, 2G and coal scam leading to a dent in its image. In such a scenario what are the options before the people of India – The saffron party or a Third Front? With fresh corruption charges against the BJP president
, can the 'aam admi' trust the main Opposition and vote it back to power in 2014 General Elections?
Although senior BJP leader LK Advani hit out at the UPA government, saying it would not survive till 2014 and that the government is sick and is in ICU, can BJP and Nitin Gadkari project themselves as a viable alternative and a non-corrupt party in front of the electorate?
BJP amended its constitution enabling the party president, state and district unit chiefs to get a second term, which paved the way for Nitin Gadkari to seek another term for the top post after he completes his present tenure in December. It is said that the RSS was keen that Gadkari be given a second chance.
Some say that the BJP president, who was propped up by RSS after the party's dismal performance and second consecutive Lok Sabha defeat in 2009, has improved the party's prospects and style of functioning. However, a host of allegations and charges accusing him of colluding with his aides for financial gain has not helped the image of the party who is eyeing to come back to power.
A case in point is Gadkari’s close confidant Ajay Sancheti who is alleged to have been allotted coal blocks in Chhattisgarh at the behest of the BJP president.
The saffron party has not let Parliament function ever since coalgate broke out, as a result of which the Monsoon Session was washed out. The main Opposition was persistent in demanding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation saying that he had no moral right to continue as head of the country.
However, morality cannot have double standards - Something that the BJP has been accused of for a long time now. Remember, the Karnataka episode where BS Yeddyurappa was removed only after it had become untenable for him to continue as CM given the revelations in the Lokayukta report pertaining to the mining scam.
Recently, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister also came under scanner for practicing double standards on the issue of coal block allocations. But ironically he has been targeting the Prime Minister saying that companies were allocated coal mines in his state without recommendation from his government.
Surprisingly the scenario now is such that it is not just the Congress-led UPA government which is mired in a series of scandals, the Opposition too seems to be hands in glove with the monster called ‘corruption’.
Can BJP leaders who have been hitting out at the Congress, say honestly that their party will be able to give India a corruption free government in 2014? Does BJP still hold the moral right to target the UPA government? It seems that in the next elections people of India will have to choose the right path between two wrongs. So who will form the next government at the Centre, will it be NDA, UPA or the Third-front? As they say – Only time will tell…
(The views expressed by the author are personal)