Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to decide the beleaguered and soon-to-be disgraced minister Eknath Khadse’s fate; quick action against corruption; kudos to Amit Shah and Modi.
Three things stand out.
Firstly, it is an inversion of the ‘Cabinet government format’ for the Chief Minister to not be able to choose his cabinet or sack anyone from his cabinet without the say or permission of the national or the state wing of the BJP. In this case, Fadnavis, abandoning his own responsibility, has left it to the Shah/Modi duo to make the decision. I understand that has been thus for a long time in India with all parties. In fact, in the Congress there is extreme centralised control only made worse by the dynastic servitude to the Gandhis. However, none of that makes it right, democratic or in sync with principles of cabinet government. Cabinet government means the state elections are run under the leadership of the state leader of the party. Once the party wins a majority, the state leader picks and chooses the cabinet. He or she may consult anyone but is not bound by the advice received. For democracy to really thrive in the country, that is one of the reforms that needs to be made.
One could argue Indian democracy is young and evolving. One would have to agree. An example of that evolution is that the routine dismissal of state governments by the Centre started by Nehru and made worse over the years, has now almost disappeared; the most recent dismissal of the Uttarakhand government being an anomaly.
Secondly, while quick action against Khadse — caught up in a serious land scam — is laudable, how come many other scams of BJP ministers and chief ministers have gone unpunished? Pankaja Munde‘s Chikki and biscuit scam, Vasundhara Raje and son’s involvement with Lalit Modi and the Madhya Pradesh Vyapam scam that has resulted in many witnesses losing their lives; to name just a few. The Congress/ UPA regime was a corrupt administration; coal scam, 2G, CG (Commonwealth Game) and many others. However, repeating that ad nauseam can’t be the answer to why the BJP is being selective in who can or can’t be allowed to be corrupt?
Thirdly, corruption, and not just financial corruption, seems to have infected every nerve and sinew of India’s social, economic and political fabric.
Financial corruption can only find an opening, take root and spread in the soil–country– already made fertile by ubiquitous moral and ethical bankruptcy; which, I am afraid, is the place India finds itself in. It is not for nothing that in the races for the upcoming elections to the Rajya Sabha contestants and parties are accusing each other of buying votes; and that too, buying the votes of the ‘esteemed’ legislators. Allegedly, the contestants are buying and the MLAs selling their votes for cash. One has even been caught in the act on camera; the buying and selling of votes for the upper house has happened before just like the buying and selling of votes for elections to the state legislatures and Lok Sabha.
It is absolutely undeniable that moral and ethical corruption is at the root of all other corruption in India. That is the challenge before Modi, Indians and India. The quick sacking of Khadse can only be the much anticipated, but dilatory beginning of the great beginning Modi’s India has had to wait for two long years.
Better late than never is all I can say.