Newsmaker: On BJP’s Target

The opposition unity has begun to sting the BJP and suddenly its invincibility index has begun to shrink. The timing of the opposition’s rise is unsettling for the ruling dispensation as less than a year is left for the general election. The BJP will have to move swiftly and decisively to demolish the opposition bonding which is resting on a shaky foundation. The BJP has the ammunition and the institutional forces to run down the opposition leader and descredit them in the eyes of the public. The CBI, which had been termed as Congress Bureau of Investigation during the UPA, is now living up to its reputation of being a caged parrot. Even before the setbacks in the bypolls and amidst talk of opposition parties coming together to form an anti-Modi front, the CBI has been working on the vulnerable targets in the ranks to circle on. Former finance minister P Chidambaram has already been grilled by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate in the INX Media case.

There are reports suggesting that BSP leader Mayawati, one of the chief architects of opposition unity can face some awkward moments as UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered a CBI probe in divestment of 21 sugar mills during Mayawati's tenure as chief minister. The alliance between Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) has already shaken the BJP which lost three successive Lok Sabha by-elections in the state including the seats of Gorakhpur and Phulpur represented by Adityanath and his deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya respectively.

Knowing well that the electoral arithmetic favours the opposition the BJP has made the pincer move to annihilate the resistance.

 Former civil aviation minister Ajit Singh, whose party Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) crushed the BJP in the Kairana by-poll backed by SP, BSP and the Congress, is under CBI scanner for his role in the Air Asia deal. Air Asia boss Tony Fernandez has been booked for bribing Indian officials for tweaking aviation rules to enter the Indian market. Apart from Ajit Singh, who was then civil aviation minister, former finance minister P Chidambaram is also under the scanner.

The CBI has filed a charge sheet against Ravi Krishna, son of former union minister and Congress leader Vyalar Ravi in an ambulance scam case in Rajasthan.

The agency is also probing the role of former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, PCC chief Sachin Pilot and Karti Chidambaram, son of P Chidambaram.

Sharad Pawar, one of the main players in bringing the opposition together came out openly against the Modi government for what he described as misuse of power to target political rivals like Chidambaram and Mamata Banerjee as people close to her have also been raided.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was also seen at the opposition's show of strength during the swearing-in ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy in Bangalore, has been fighting a running battle with the CBI.

Delhi minister Satender Jain was raided in a case of alleged irregularities. He is already facing charges of money laundering.

In a sharp contrast, the allegations of corruption by the opposition against the government are brushed aside even without an inquiry. The government has rubbished Congress charge about wrongdoings in the Rafale fighter jet deal or recent reports about corruption in the An-32 transport plane upgradation deal for the IAF. In both the cases, the government claimed there was no corruption.

The BJP has gone on a publicity blitzkrieg on the completion of four years of the Modi government and at the same time gone after the opposition leaders with a vengeance. With more than a year to go for the elections, the dragnet will only expand instead of shrinking. The projection of opposition leaders as a cabal of corrupt, failed and opportunistic leaders goes well for the BJP which is gearing up for the Modi-versus-all scenario in the next election.

Columnist: 
Gautam Datt