Friday, October 5, 2012

Now The Arvind Kejriwal Spring : A Tale of two sons-in-law


The wikipedia describes Robert Vadra as an Indian businessman, husband of Priyanka Vadra and a “member” of the Nehru-Gandhi family by marriage.

It also says about Feroze Gandhi that in 1942, ironically the Quit India Movement year, he had married Indira Nehru and thus became part of the Nehru dynasty.

The similarity ends at that.

On this backdrop, one is really tempted, to employ a time tested maxim – nothing is permanent except change. The changes have taken place in the country’s first political family.

And the statement is a serious challenge to another well-worn saying, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The irony is not lost. While Feroze Gandhi had taken up a cudgel against the corruption and probably had embarrassed the Family, this time round, Robert Vadra is at the receiving end of the charge of gross impropriety and has embarrassed his mother-in-law braving her ill-health and a typical bad season for any ruling establishment.

My paper, The Statesman, rightly titled the story: ‘Robert Vadra in eye of storm’.
Thanks to Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi’s husband had been charged with acquiring at least 31 properties worth several hundred crores in and around the national capital, thanks to huge favours from real estate major DLF.

In contrast, Feroz Gandhi in December 1955 had tried to expose how Ram Kishan Dalmia, as chairman of a bank and an insurance company, had allegedly sought to takeover of Bennett and Coleman and started transferring money illegally from publicly held companies for personal benefit.

In 1958, Feroze had again raised the Haridas Mundhra scandal involving the government controlled LIC insurance company. “This was a huge embarrassment to the clean image of Nehru's government”, says Wikipedia.

The take away from the Robert Vadra story is that the Law holds no fear for the new generation son-in-law. Rather he systematically bulldozed his way and influenced the decisions – probably in return forcing his mother-in-law’s ‘chamchas’ to dole out continuous and undue favor to the DLF, a key player in real estate.

The brazen manner Congress ministers and party spokespersons tried to undo each other and defend ‘madam’s son in law’ talks for itself that Mr Vadra is no private individual as otherwise an attempt is being made to build an argument on that line – that the deals if at all were between DLF and Robert, so Congress regimes across the north India’s states – including a ‘very efficient’ Sheila Dikshit regime – had nothing to do.

Even the purported pro-Congress television channels could not sing the other way round on Friday evening – as essential questions raised by Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan beg convincing answers. Even the anchors who get excited to paint pro-Congress slant to any developments under the sky, were surprisingly pleasant and blatant to ask Salman Khurshied and Jayanti Natrajan: "why you are defending an individual called Robert Vadra?"

In my initial reactions to the charges against Vadra, on Facebook posting, I lauded Kejriwal as a gutsy fellow – a ‘fidayen’- who took up the matter concerning country’s most sacred son-in-law about whom people were only talking among fiends and in close doors.

Of course, during the height of Anna Movement in 2011, Youtube
and other social networking sites had lot many postings and video clippings against the First family.

What Kejriwal and his team has tried to say is not something unknown. Believe me or not, just few minutes before Kejriwal spoke against Vadra on October 5 evening; one journalist friend from a 'reputed to be pro-Congress newspaper' had joked (I think!) what will happen, if Arvind names Robert Vadra.

Now, Arvind Kejriwal might not be the ‘dhud ke dhuley hue’; but Kejriwal has set for himself a unique preamble for his yet to be named political party.

He will be also a dangerous element to handle with by any political party and leader as he has been displaying a unique synthesis of good timing, doing a good homework on his own and showing a desi bravado.

It is true, he has been stealing away the thunder from opposition parties including the BJP on the issue of corruption. But it is not without good reason. 'The Economic Times' is apt in summing up the man: “He knows he can't win by fighting along the traditional matrix of caste, money and muscle power.”

And hence, his methods might not be right, he could be ‘wrong’ himself --- but he is different!

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