Double Standard

Double Standard is part of the political game every political party indulges in. Even internationally some governments, particularly the US government is unique in maintaining double standard in accusing some countries of violating human rights while ignoring suppression of dissent by its client states, many of them are outright autocratic. Nearer home the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a chequred history of speaking in multiple voices to further its political interests.

During the just-concluded Assembly poll campaign in Meghalaya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah described its Chief Minister, Konrad K Sangma, as “most corrupt” and heaped charges of money laundering on him. But Sangma’s National People’s Party won 26 of 57 seats it contested and formed the government. The Bharatiya Janata Party won two of the 60 seats it contested but made a frenetic U-turn once the results were out and extended support to Sangma. Modi and Shah graced Sangma’s swearing-in ceremony at Shillong on 7 March–the same day Central Bureau of Investigation sleuths questioned the Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad Yadav at his daughter Miss Bharti’s home in New Delhi. The corruption charges against Sangma would obviously not be discussed any more. Yadav’s party is not in alliance with BJP and it means more trouble lies ahead for him and his family.

The Prime Minister did not mention Adani even after the entire Opposition demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the Hindenburg research report that claims to have exposed the group’s “misappropriations”, causing worldwide outrage. Repeatedly stalling Parliament on the issue didn’t move the Treasury Benches. Even an inspector-level official has not questioned Adani. People will never know how Modi’s corporate friend has siphoned public money from LIC. The media house Al Jazeera has, in the meantime, claimed to have exposed how the Adani Group was allotted a coal block in violation of the Supreme Court’s order.

Sangma and Adani are just the tip of the iceberg of countless politicians and businessmen who enjoy impunity because they are in the “good books” of the ruling BJP. It is an open secret that many top leaders who faced the CBI’s heat, or that of the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities, suddenly got freedom after joining the BJP. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Narayan Rane, Maharastra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and former Trinamool Congress leaders Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy are well-known among those with central investigating agencies hot on their heels until they joined the BJP. For one thing the BJP is ready to protect the corrupt if it suits its political interests.

It was in 2017 that the CBI filed two cases against Lalu, his family members and others. At the time, his RJD was in a Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United and the Congress Party. The Alliance had roundly defeated the BJP in the 2015 Assembly poll and was in power in Bihar.

The BJP is using central investigation agencies to break opposition leaders and coerce them to join it.

No doubt the BJP has evidently had some success in this ‘plan’, for many leaders in Maharashtra, West Bengal, northeastern states, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Goa, who had the agencies chasing after them in various alleged “scams” got a reprieve once they entered the BJP fold. These politicians have no scruples. Nor do they bother about ideology. What matters in their idea of ‘democracy’ is how to loot the exchequer and then defend the indefensible by way of taking the usual route of horse trading or one may call it donkey trading. It’s a tragedy that these people get elected through adult franchise. Of late election is being increasingly manipulated by the ruling BJP at the centre through yet another central agency–Election Commission working in tandem with Para-military forces.


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Vol 55, No. 39, Mar 26 - April 1, 2023