What really unites and exemplifies politicians of various hues are double standards. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar dropped the company of his old friend-turned-foe-turned-friend Laloo Prasad and his children because he was fighting corruption. The BJP welcomed Nitish Kumar back into the National Democratic Alliance because it, again, is fiercely fighting corruption. So, they ought to be natural allies and obviously have to come together for the greater good of our great nation.
Around the same time, another party in another corner of the country too is getting rewired to join the NDA. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam swears by its late lamented leader, J. Jayalalitha, which is fine because that is how politics works in this country. And hero or heroine worship is almost theology in Tamil Nadu. But the problem is, like Laloo Prasad, the AIADMK icon Jayalalitha too is a rarity among Indian politicians: she too was convicted by the courts, in fact, by the highest court in the country. A conviction means a lot in corruption cases because, first of all, it is nearly impossible for overworked, underpaid and under-skilled prosecutors to prove any case against powerful politicians defended by a battery of the best and the most expensive Indian lawyers. Then, a top politician never touches money.
So, the conviction against the AIADMK leader and her aide Sasikala Natarajan are big achievements for the prosecution and for all those who want a clean society and probity in public life. Then, the BJP, which claims to be fighting corruption in Bihar, is anxiously waiting to embrace the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. Even if chief minister Edappady K. Palanisamy abandons Sasikala, the taint of corruption will remain intact. What Tamil Nadu now wants is a new idiom in public life, a new kind of politics that goes beyond the rhetoric of linguistic chauvinism. But the BJP seems set to turn TN only saffron, not clean.
The so-called Left politicians often are the worst hypocrites. They will do anything to be in power and could even quote German philosophers to justify the greed for an assembly seat. In power, they show their true colours. The distance between AKG Bhawan on Bhai Vir Singh Marg, Delhi, and AKG Centre on A. Raghavan Road in Thiruvananthapuram can only be measured in terms of hubris of power. Last week, the Marxist chief minister of Kerala asked a group of journalists who had gathered at a hotel to cover a political meeting to “get out”. It was a significant meeting between the chief minister, CPI(M) state secretary and BJP-RSS leaders over the frequent CPI(M)-RSS clashes and the latest murder of an RSS leader.
The murder of the RSS activist had rocked Parliament and was national news. The CPI(M)-RSS meeting was big and the visual media journalists were merely doing their job: shooting the visuals of the leaders walking into the meeting hall at the Mascot Hotel. Even if the CM had not wanted his voters to see him shaking hands or sharing a joke with the Sangh parivar, he could have asked the camera persons to leave or could have waited till they had left. No, he had to shout “get out.” After all, these cameramen from Malayalam news TV channels (many of them broke) are just poorly paid workers doing a difficult job, jostling among friends and colleagues for a better shot. Last week we celebrated Kerala becoming India’s richest state and this week we lament the leader’s outburst.