This Article is From Jun 22, 2016

Corruption Charges Against Kejriwal Are BJP's Answer To Punjab

An FIR has finally been registered against Arvind Kejriwal in a case of corruption. The charges are that he did not take action against the corruption of Sheila Dikshit, the former Chief Minister of Delhi. The moot question is who has registered the FIR? The Anti-Corruption Bureau or ACB, which was forcibly taken over by the Modi government in June 2015, within three months of AAP forming the government in Delhi. The ACB was with the Delhi government for more than 40 years. Sheila Dikshit has been accused of indulging in corruption in a contract for water tankers by the Jal Board, of which she was Chairperson.

When the AAP government was formed, an investigation was ordered in the water tanker scam and a report was submitted in August 2015. But by then the ACB had been taken over by the central government and an officer of the police rank of Joint Commissioner, Mukesh Meena, was made its chief. Mr Meena himself is accused of the "Parda scam". A complaint is already pending against him but no action has been taken yet. Since his appointment, the ACB has been left redundant and no serious case has been pursued.

In his first term that lasted 49 days, Arvind Kejriwal had filed three FIRs against Sheila Dikshit and also against Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, the then Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, and Law Minister Veerappa Moily in the KG Basin case. All these cases were handed over to the ACB. After his resignation, for a year there was President's rule in Delhi, but there was no movement in these cases; since June 8 2015, the ACB reported to the Modi government, and again no action was taken. So if Arvind can be faulted for inaction and an FIR lodged against him, then why should a similar FIR not be lodged against the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi in the  Ambani and Sheila Dikshit cases, and also against M L Khattar, the Chief Minister of Haryana, for not processing any action against Robert Vadra? The BJP had created much hullabaloo over the issue of Vadra's allegedly corrupt land deals in Haryana and promised action. 

The FIR against Arvind is part of a bigger conspiracy.

All of a sudden, three cases were raised by BJP. The bill related to the Office of Profit of 21 MLAs, passed by the Delhi Assembly, was rejected by the President. It had been lying with the Modi government for a year without any action. Then the Premier Bus Service scam matter was raised and Transport Minister Gopal Rai, who has been undergoing a serious treatment for his disabilities, was targeted, and then came this water tanker issue. Gopal Rai was relieved of his duty from the transport department on his own request, but it was made out that he had indulged in corruption and was penalised. The BJP created lot of hungama over AAPs 21 MLAs and behaved as if the membership of these 21 MLAs had been cancelled. The truth is that the matter is pending with the Election Commission and it will take some time to resolve. Meanwhile, there is this FIR against Arvind Kejriwal. All this happened in a matter of two weeks.

Arvind Kejriwal tweeted PM Modi had been targeting him instead of filing FIR against Sonia Gandhi (File photo)

This needs serious dissection and analysis. This has to be understood with a different perspective. A government which has come to power with an unprecedented mandate on the issue of Zero Tolerance for corruption is being blamed for corruption. This is the same government which in record time took strong action against more than 50 officers on account of corruption when the ACB was reporting to it. This is the same government which sacked its own minister who was seen to be asking for six lakhs as a bribe in an audio clip. This clip had not appeared in the media; the opposition had no inclination about it. Yet, he was fired and the matter was referred to the CBI. The CBI on the other hand has not done any investigation since then. This is the same government which is completing government projects at a cost that far lower than allocated in the budget ,unlike other governments who escalate the costs multiple times. This is the same government that is constructing "mohalla clinics" at the cost of 20 lakhs whereas the earlier government had spent five crores per primary health center of the same size and facilities. The list is endless. And all these are verifiable facts.

This is not the first attempt of the Modi government to try and tarnish the image of the AAP government. In the month of December 2015, the CBI raided the office of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Till date, no evidence of any wrong doing has been found by the CBI. In fact, the court is very angry with the CBI. The special judge has observed, "CBI has been unable to show, till date, even prima facie that the frozen accounts have any direct links with the commission of alleged crime...There appears to be no compliance of section 102(3) CrPc by CBI in present case." The court was so peeved with the conduct of the CBI that it even threatened to move a contempt proceeding against them. The special judge was mysteriously transferred later.

In the last few weeks, the timing has been cleverly selected  and the happenings beautifully choreographed. It was done in the context of Punjab and Goa elections that are to take place in the beginning of 2017, where AAP has decided to contest. In Punjab, the Huffington Post in a survey has predicted that AAP can get 94 to 100 seats out of 117. This is a huge number. Another survey has also said that AAP can get more than 85 seats. Similarly, in Goa, after Arvind Kejriwal's rally on May 22, AAP is the talk of the town and has emerged as a very strong alternative to the BJP. It is a warning signal to the established political parties, especially to the BJP and Mr Modi. In Delhi, AAP replaced BJP, rather wiped out the BJP. The BJP which had 32 seats in 2013 was reduced to 3 in the 2015 elections. In Punjab, the BJP is a partner in the Akali government and in Goa, it is heading a corrupt and unpopular government. If AAP replaces BJP as it did in Delhi, then the message will be loud and clear.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at a rally in Punjab

The 2014 parliamentary elections showcased and confirmed by several state elections that Indian polity is moving towards a presidential form of electioneering. The BJP got 282 seats at a pan-India level and 73 seats out of 80 seats in UP. This was a vote for Modi, not for the BJP. There are other examples too in History. In 1989, V P Singh emerged from nowhere and became the Prime Minister. He vanquished the most powerful Prime Minister this country has ever seen. Rajiv Gandhi had 405 MPs in 1984. Modi is a very shrewd politician. He wants to nip in the bud any such possibility.

If AAP wins Punjab and Goa with a massive majority like it did in Delhi, then AAP will emerge as a very strong force in other states too. It is already getting very good response in Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The victory in Punjab and Goa can break the myth that AAP is a one-state wonder and its victory in Delhi a fluke. These victories will herald the beginning of a new-age politics and can severely damage Modi's chances for a second term in 2019. Modi knows that AAP's USP is clean politics and honest administration. The people of India are sick and tired of corruption and corrupt politicians. Modi knows this and that is why he has always projected himself as a non-corrupt person. But he can't claim the same about his colleagues and his governance. In fact, corruption has increased. Corrupt corporate houses and politicians are flourishing. Misuse of investigating agencies is rampant. And in this context, Arvind's image and AAP's reputation as a clean party can prove to be his nemesis. So, the attempt is being made to tell the whole world that Arvind and AAP are no different, they are the same as others.

It's that simple, friends.

(Ashutosh joined the Aam Aadmi Party in January 2014.)

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