Posted by : Sreedhar Pillai Tuesday, August 28, 2012
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Monumental ignorance of its politicians like Akin, Palin, Ryan and Romney, exposed through their statements, shape public opinion and the course of the presidential election in the US.
In India, the ignorance of the electorate and their inability to grasp complex issues, which the political opposition try to capitalise to portray Prime Minister Dr Man Mohan Singh as India's most corrupt leader, are likely to get him elected for a third term, despite his reticence to fend off unethical and motivated charges of corruption.
In all fairness, the eighty years old Singh, who boosted India's growth rate by bold fiscal action and little ado, must be looking forward to a quiet life at the end of his term ending in 2014. However, the bizarre Indian "politics of allegations of corruption" is shaping and fostering a third term of incumbency on this reluctant economist, who the rest of the world look towards as a Guru and an honest man.
This favour will be done to him by the BJP, the main political opposition to the Congress party headed bySonia Gandhi. The BJP tried to portray the soft spoken Singh as a "weak Prime Minister" by personal attacks in the last election and failed miserably to convince the "ignorant" Indians who promptly elected him and his party for a second term.
However the BJP refuses to learn from the experience and has mounted another campaign, asking for the resignation of Dr Singh on allegations of favouring private investors, hoping to force and benefit from an early election. This time their ploy is based on a disputed report of India's Comptroller and Auditor General, who has a penchant to interpret Government's policy decisions as reasons for assumed loss of billions of dollars.
Dr Singh himself is to blame for his plight. It was his brave admission, as India's finance minister that the country was nearly bankrupt and can't survive without opening its markets to foreign investment, and his bold fiscal steps which lead to the recent spurt in growth of the Indian economy.
This growth has lead to unprecedented demand for electric power and the need to expedite mining of vast resources of coal required to generate power, the same logic behind his push for the nuclear deal.
His government's attempts to expedite the availability of coal by auctioning the mines which hit legal obstacles and objection from states owning the mines, have lead to the new accusations of presumptive losses and corruption, which Dr Singh has contested with strong defence, politically supported by Sonia Gandhi and her Congress party.
However, despite the smear campaign of the BJP, like the complicated nuclear deal, which was the contentious issue projected against Dr Singh in the last election, the subject of alleged corruption in spectrum distribution and coal mining will have little bearing on the voting priorities of rural India. The majority of the Indian population can hardly understand the complicated issues or really bother about them. For example, A Raja, a minister accused and sent to Jail in the 2G spectrum case was actually received with adoration by huge masses of his electorate, on his return from the imprisonment.
Recently, the party of Jagan Mohan Reddy of the state of Andhra Pradesh, who was actually in jail over land deal scams, won several seats in the assembly elections. The party of Mulayam Singh Yadav of the state of Uttar Pradesh, an accused in several corruption cases, won a landslide victory in the state elections. As far as corruption is concerned, the more the better is the norm in India.
If Jesus was alive today he couldn't have safely challenged the 1.3 billion people of India to cast a stone on anyone corrupt. He would have to argue with them because an average Indian can't see the corruption they willingly live with. From the dirty money they deal with on a day to day basis for a rail ticket to the education, employment, and the dowry for their children, every Indian is guilty of corruption in some form or the other. But Jesus would be lucky if he could make any honest Indian to admit it.
Frankly, the Indians are merely jealous about the huge sums they think some other Indian is making which they themselves can't lay their hands on. In fact the state Governments run by BJP are facing corruption charges in land deals and mining. Taking the "presumptive" accounting of the CAG of India, the BJP and the opposition would like to convince the Indians that Dr Singh has looted them an astounding 40 billion USD without an iota of shame.
So far the BJP's gamble has not only failed but also has in fact increased the credibility of Dr Singh, with massive support from the party president Sonia Gandhi. Whether Dr Singh is willing or not, fighting the current allegation of corruption has become his call, foisting him as the best candidate for the position of the Prime Minister after the next election.
The demand of the BJP for the resignation of Dr Singh is not supported by its own coalition partners or the left front. If anything, the recent massive power failures, which all Indians can understand, will only increase the urgency and demand to produce the required coal by any means and vindicate the government's action.