The tainted ministers' dispute is merely one example of the so-called "compulsions" hampering those sitting on the gaddi even as comparisons like "my tainted minister is better than yours" are paraded. Indeed, we are asked to sympathise with governments and prime ministers who hold their nose, look the other way and confess, "It is a matter of survival", while their aides secretly brief the media on how reluctant their man was to sign a certain piece of paper. One can argue that it is easy for me to criticise because I don't have to take the life-or-death midnight decisions, and therefore enjoy the prerogative of the harlot—power without responsibility.
Thus if corruption is written into the exercise of power, is there a way out of this dead-end street? Only if as a nation and as a democracy we lower our expectations. One reason our politicians disappoint and disillusion us is because we swallow their precious humbug hook, line and sinker. The notion of a Mr Clean is a fraud. He may begin as one but sooner rather than later he will become a Mr Dirty. The solitary choice we have is of degree. It is the less corrupt versus the hugely corrupt. That is our new electoral paradigm.
If the Mahatma was alive today, his colleagues and acolytes would warn him that power and idealism are mutually exclusive and would advise him to take lessons in practical politics.