Taking part in the parliament discussion on Presidential address, PM Narendra Modi had described the Mahagathbandhan political grouping as maha milawat. He also took to an analogy saying that just like the health-conscious people nowadays don’t want any adulteration, our healthy democracy also will reject the maha milawat model. Citing the instance of the recent Kolkata rally where various opposition parties had regrouped to attack the government, he said that the leaders are “out on bail in wholesale”. In this background, we have checked the credentials of prominent leaders who have taken part in the Mahagathbandhan exercise and the following is what we have found.
Rahul Gandhi / Congress
The principal opposition which has ruled the country for most of the period post-independence, has already accepted that it cannot single-handedly pose a political challenge to the present government. So, it has also become a part of maha milawat, perhaps rightly so, since Rahul Gandhi and Congress evidently top the corruption and scam rankings among all maha milawat members.
- Both Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are out on bail in the National Herald case in which a scam of Rs 5000 crore allegedly took place. You may read about the whole scam with dateline, in our article Explained: National Herald Case in Which Rahul Gandhi is Out on Bail.
- The investigations into Augusta Westland VVIP helicopter scam that has taken place under UPA have indicated that the top Congress leaders may have been involved. The Italian court had taken note of the conversation between different middlemen mentioning ‘Mrs Gandhi’ as being the‘driving force behind the VIP chopper deal’.
- Then it goes without saying that all the major scams, namely, the 2G, Commonwealth Games, Coal scam, that have featured under UPA-2 were right under the nose of Sonia Gandhi who was the then chairperson of the alliance.
- Also, the Finance minister in the UPA government P Chidambaram and his son are out on bail. While P Chidambaram has been embroiled in the Aircel-Maxis and INX media cases, his son’s role in the latter is getting probed.
- Another member of the Congress’ first family has been brought to active politics recently whose spouse has a staggering laundry list of alleged wrongdoings.
Mamata Banerjee / Trinamool Congress
- Lakhs of poor people’s savings were siphoned off in Saradha scam with the prominent accused belonging to Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress Party.
- Mamata herself came under the lens in the wake of Saradha group’s Sudipto Sen buying one of her paintings for a whopping Rs 8 crore.
- Recently she had created a hurdle when a CBI team had gone to question Kolkata Police chief Rajiv Kumar who allegedly attempted to brush under the carpet the wrongdoings in Saradha scam.
- Besides the charges of corruption, Mamata Banerjee’s party has often been involved in violent incidents and even curbing the freedom of citizens. You may read in detail in our article, Why Mamata Banerjee Appears to be the Real Dictator.
RJD / Tejashwi Yadav
- RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, who needs no introduction for his corruption cases, is a convict in various corruption cases including fodder scam.
- Lalu Yadva’s family has also been embroiled in many cases relating to benami property, illegal assets, etc.
- Tejashwi Yadav, the son of Lalu, who has been a visible participant in the in the maha milawat politics, is himself out on bail in the IRCTC hotel scam.
Akhilesh Yadav / Samajwadi Party
- The Samajwadi Party leader and former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav has been allegedly embroiled in many corruption cases. He has even been accused of not maintaining law and order in the state while he was at the helm.
- He is even accusedof allowing illegal mining of minor minerals in UP’s Hamirpur district during 2012-16. The probe had started with an enquiry into the roles of lower officers with the CBI also saying that the role of Akhilesh Yadav would be probed.
- The CAG reporton state finances between 2014 and March 2017 had said that the government departments under Akhilesh Yadav had failed to submit utilisation certificates worth Rs 97,906.27 crore.
- When the former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh was forced to vacate his government bungalow, he hadreportedly damaged the whole house to take precious things along with him.
- Samajwadi Party’s disregard of the law and order has been well captured in its supreme leader Mulayam Singh Yadav’s words where he had shown his casual attitude towards rape, saying “ladke, ladke hain… galti ho jati hai” (boys will be boys… they commit mistakes).
Mayawati / BSP
- Mayawati has came under the investigations by the probe agencies several times in connection with the Taj Heritage Corridor case and the disproportionate assets (DA) case.
- It is reported that Mayawati’s brother has made a staggering 18,000% profit in 7 years.
- The recent remarks by the Supreme Court, where it has expressed the tentative view that BSP chief Mayawati has to deposit public money used for erecting statues of herself and elephants, shows how unmindfully the Mayawati regime in UP had spent the public money.
- According to Wikileaks, Mayawati had sent a private jet to Mumbai to get her sandals.
M K Stalin / DMK
- It is an irony that Mr M K Stalin who heads DMK, the party which is immensely tainted by the 2G spectrum scam under UPA has joined hands with the Mahagathbandhan and accusing the present government of corruption.
- The then Telecom Minister from UPA-2, A Raja from DMK is charge sheeted by the CBI in 2G spectrum case. He has spent 15 months in the jail.
- The daughter of M Karunanidhi, Kanimozhi had also spent 6 weeks in jail.
- Both Raja and Kanimozhi were tried under provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, using of fake documents, abuse of official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and of taking bribe.
- In another case, the Enforcement Directorate had charge sheeted A Raja and Kanimozhi with regard to alleged laundering of Rs 200 crore bribe money.
- Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal has also been booked.
- While it is true that both Raja and Kanimozhi have been acquitted by the lower courts in 2G case but the government has appealed against this order.
Ajit Pawar / NCP
- In the Mahagathbandhan rally, Ajit Pawar had represented Nationalist Congress Party. Mr Pawar himself is at the centre of corruption allegations.
- Maharashtra’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had indicated that former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar was involved in the alleged Rs 70,000 crore irrigation scam.
- As this reportdocuments, “the irrigation scam broke in 2012, after it was revealed that even after spending Rs 42,500 crore over a decade, Maharashtra had brought only 0.1% of the targeted land under irrigation.” Thus, the thousands of crore rupees meant for farmers’ welfare were pocketed by middlemen, contractors and apparently politicians under the NCP rule.
- The insensitivity of Ajit Pawar to the farmers’ cause had become infamous when he as a deputy Chief Minister in 2013 had mocked the water shortage issue by saying, “Should I urinate to fill up empty dams?”
H D Kumaraswamy / JDS
- JDS which supports the Mahagathbandhan has corruption allegations against its leader and the present Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy himself. His name had prominently figured in a mining case in which he was charged with offences of misuse of office and granting undue favours to the Mumbai-based Janthakal Mining Company back in 2006-07.
- Way back in 2011, Kumaraswamy had infamously proclaimed that it is impossible to practise politics without corruption.
- Apart from this, the JDS-Congress coalition government in Karnataka has been a ready reminder of the perils of Mahagathbandhan. Read our article What does a Mazboor Sarkar look like? Karnataka Provides Enough Clues to What One Can Expect from Mahagathbandhan
Farooq Abdullah / NC
- Chandrababu Naidu government in Andhra Pradesh has withdrawn the ‘general consent’ accorded to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to exercise its authority in the state. This obviously raises the question of what exactly it is that Mr Naidu wants to hide.
Therefore, it has been evident that almost all the leaders and parties in this maha milawat have been accused in one or the other scam. One single ‘immoral’ grouping is likely to ‘defile’ the whole mixture resulting in a maha milawat which is not healthy for a democracy such as ours. Moreover, if most of them are seemingly not above board, it calls for some serious contemplation of the way opposition is playing its politics today.