|Saturday, 19 March 2011 00:00|
In 2008, after it organised a sting operation with a television channel on an attempt to bribe its MPs to break away on the trust vote in Parliament, the BJP didn’t quite know what to do. The government survived the trust vote, so the only thing the party could do was to shout in the House, in television studios and on the streets. This worked to an extent, a parliamentary probe was ordered and this asked for the investigative agencies to examine the matter further, except those it wanted probed included a BJP member. The BJP, however, forgot the matter with time, and with good reason. As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reminded the BJP while replying to its demand for his resignation, the matter was debated by the electorate (along with several others including the BJP’s inability to pull together with allies or even within itself)—the verdict was the Congress increasing its seats tally from 141 to 206 and the BJP falling from 138 to 118.
None of this is to say the content of the cables WikiLeaks put out were incorrect. But what do they tell us except that someone talked to US officials. There may have been R60 crore for bribing but it’s also possible, as the Radia tapes and so many others showed us, there are more braggarts out there than we imagined. More important, what shocked the BJP so much that its grand old man finally asked for the PM’s resignation? Apparently Adarsh, CWG, 2G didn’t shock Mr Advani as much as the possibility that our politicians try to bribe MPs as well as voters, or that ministers are dropped due to US pressure—well, the fact that Pranab Mukherjee was appointed FM despite the US wanting some others should make the BJP breathe easier! The BJP would do well to heed what Pranab Mukherjee told it: take the WikiLeaks case to court. So far, all the cases the BJP has been exercised about, whether CWG or 2G, are cases that will eventually either stand up or fall in court. The legal courts and the people’s court, both are impressed only with facts that look a bit more solid than a bit of stenography, never mind that it has been done by an American and a high-ranking one at that.