By Abhishek Jha:
A day after Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked the Lok Sabha TV to “show all of them on TV“, the Congress continued its sloganeering in the parliament even as Sushma Swaraj claimed innocence in the Lalit Modi scandal. Responding to Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s questions in the adjournment motion debate, the Minister of External Affairs said that her husband “was not Lalit Modi’s lawyer in the passport case” and that her daughter “was the ninth junior counsel accompanying the senior to the court“.
While the minister had already offered an explanation on the 6th of August, this time she used the opportunity to target the Congress and remind the parliament of instances when the Gandhi family had extended help to alleged criminals. Taking a jibe at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, she asked him to learn his family history and ask Sonia Gandhi, “Mama, how much money was taken from Quattrocchi?” And “why did daddy allow the release of the killer of 15,000 people?” She was referring to the Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, who had criminal charges against him relating to the Bofors scam, and Warren Anderson, who headed Union Carbide at the time of the Bhopal gas tragedy.
If speeches are anything to go by, the parliament was a great spectacle on Wednesday and supporters of both the leading national parties must feel greatly satisfied. Sonia Gandhi was congratulated by her party members for entering the well and Rahul Gandhi, too, gave a high-spirited speech in response to Sushma Swaraj. It is perhaps a result of these spectacles that only these two parties have headed the country. But if it is statecraft that must be lauded, then would it be any different if we were still being ruled by the British? They ruled us for a period far longer than any of these parties and have never since taken any cognizance of their atrocities.
The standard solution employed by our elected representatives in response to any allegation is to throw another allegation at their opponents. By doing this, they effect an equality of sorts that protects them from any electoral losses they might suffer due to the allegations. When the voters choose between the two, they find both the parties equally corrupt and, therefore, have no option but to discount corruption as an agenda. Thus, the Congress gloating over its successful campaign and the BJP’s self-approbation on Sushma’s speech is nothing but a mockery of the Indian voter.
However, the silver lining here is precisely that the cloud is becoming darker. It can be seen in the manner in which Sushma Swaraj talked about the Bhopal Gas tragedy. She drew the attention of the speaker, for she belongs to Madhya Pradesh and Swaraj hoped that the people of the state would sympathise with her, only to go on and show that she was only interested in making a point in the debate. “15000 people died“, she said, and then asked, “how many?“, and her enthusiastic supporters repeated after her “15000“. When dead people, irrespective of who ruled over them, become a mere statistic, it is time that we think of an alternative, rather than leave the country’s reigns to Bharat bhagyavidhata- the dispenser of India’s destiny.