At the valedictory session of the BJP National Executive in New Delhi last weekend, I referred to the Prime Minister’s comment about the opposition becoming impatient to see the UPA Government’s ouster in order to have an early poll. I said that in the country today, not only in the media, but also among the people, opinion is unanimous that the UPA. Government is in an unenviable mess. This fact is also widely recognised that the mess is of the Congress’s own making. I described the UPA Government as being ‘in a suicidal mode.’
I can never forget the six-seven months period just before the formation of the BJP in April, 1980. Before that we were part of the Janata Party. At that time I had said publicly about my own party that we are in a suicidal mood.
In one of the pieces I wrote those days I had referred to a Scandinavian rodent-like animal known as lemming. Ordinarily, I had written, only human beings are known to commit suicide. But lemmings are unique creatures.
Without rhyme or reason, large numbers of lemmings start marching towards the sea. Some swim and survive. Most die. These mass suicides of lemmings have long intrigued biologists. I wrote then that the Janata party seems to be “in the grips of a lemmings complex.” One can say the same thing about the UPA Government today.
In December 2001, the Law Commission of India published its 179th Report strongly recommending enactment of laws to provide protection to whistle blowers who expose corruption.
The 113 page report opens with a letter addressed to the then Law Minister, Arun Jaitley by the Commission Chairman, Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy, in which he quotes Prime Minister Vajpayee affirming that the country’s attitude to corruption should be of “zero tolerance”. The Report has a couple of chapters describing in detail the kind of statutory protection given to Whistle Blowers in UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand.
On the basis of this Law Commission Report, the Manmohan Singh cabinet approved a Bill which protects Whistle Blowers and which in 2010 was formally introduced in the Lok Sabha by Personnel Minister, Prithviraj Chauhan. Presently this Bill is being considered by a Standing Committee of Parliament.
The Bill has not become law as yet. But the Cabinet having approved of it, Government should feel committed to its core principle.
Last week, accompanied by Arun Jaitley I visited the Tihar Jail to meet Sudheendra Kulkarni, a close associate of mine for many years, and two former Lok Sabha colleagues Kulaste and Bhagora who together had rendered a signal service to Democracy by blowing the whistle to expose how in 2008 crores were given as bribes to Lok Sabha MPs to cross vote in favour of the Congress, and enable UPA-2 to win a vote of confidence even after the Left Front had parted company with them. The Left Front had quit the UPA because of its opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deed. Along with Ashok Argal, the third BJP MP who was approached by the UPA, the three were offered 3 crores each, and paid Rs. 1 crore in advance.
The Hindu published a Wikileaks report showing that the Manmohan Government not only indulged in massive bribery to buy MPs to its side, but had no shame flaunting its dirty plans before U.S. Embassy officials only to reassure them that the UPA Government was not going to fall, and that the Indo-U.S. Nuclear deal will go through.
It is indeed shocking to find that the ruling party these days is exerting its utmost to protect corrupt ministers but has no qualms putting whistle blowers behind bars.
An organization which surveys the level of corruption in various countries of the world, computes a Corruption Perception Index for each country and publishes a comprehensive list every year is the TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL.
The CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX assigns scores to countries on a scale of zero to ten, with zero indicating very high levels of corruption, and ten showing very low levels.
The list published for 2010 shows India’s score as 3.3, and out of 178 countries is ranked at a lowly 87th.
Three countries – Denmark, Singapore and New Zealand – have scored 9.3 and thus tied for first place in 2010’s List of 178 countries.
While Pakistan scoring 2.3, is 143rd in the List. Afghanistan, Burma and Somalia are the last three in ranking – 176, 177 and 178.
On September 30, the Congress President foisted a 2G Truce on the two senior-most ministers of the Union Government. That night when I switched on the TV I saw Salman Khurshid virtually jumping with joy shouting “All IZ WELL”, the punchline of a recent popular movie. Of the mediamen present on the spot, one told me later: from the media persons a voice was heard asking: “Salman Saheb, can you name the THREE IDIOTS?”
3 October, 2011