April 03, 2020
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God's Forsaken Party

God's Forsaken Party
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Pontius Pilate many years ago posed an interesting question. "What is truth?" he asked not entirely in jest, and the scriptures tell us he did not wait for an answer. The people of India, alas, cannot adopt Mr Pilate's approach as the hair-raising Rahul Mahajan thriller slowly unfolds. Nothing is clear. The story is riddled with contradictions, the script keeps changing—and there is a fair amount of outright lying. When one of India's leading hospital chains is collaborating in spreading motivated falsehoods, how is the aam aadmi supposed to get any clarity?

Trial by media is a fashionable and overused allegation. Occasionally, it has a morsel of justification, but in the Safdarjung heroin-and-champagne murder, it is wholly unjustified. The odd channel or an individual newspaper may have gone overboard peddling conspiracy theories. However, from day one the media has asked relevant and pertinent questions remaining well within the boundaries of propriety. If this scandal, with its explosive cocktail of exotic drugs, deviant sex, secretary feuds, big money and big politics had happened in Europe or the United States, the media scrutiny would have been even more pointed.

The media, understandably, has been consistently sceptical of the versions being put out. As we catch glimpses of the truth in this sordid crime, the media's scepticism is fully vindicated. While it is too early to back any one version, I will stick my neck out and say this does not appear to be as simple and clear-cut a case as is being made out.

The late Pramod Mahajan allegedly rendered outstanding service to his party which was duly noted by the excessively fulsome obits. Those of us who suggested that his legacy may turn out to be a mixed blessing were roundly traduced. If anything, we witnessed too much "good taste" masquerading as balanced assessment as Pramod's contribution to the bjp was computed. Now, as even more skeletons tumble out, and as the "collectors" of the collections line up, the hidden sleaze and accompanying low-life encircle a party already in deep disarray.

In certain quarters, I am characterised as a bjp-baiter. Even if that description is valid, my sorrow for the mess God's own party has created for itself is genuine.

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