While Kejriwal kept accusing Sheila Dixit for her alleged involvement in the CWG scam. He claimed to have a 600 page thick proof against her. But like an expert politician, Kejriwal tossed the non-existent-proof inside a garbage can as soon as he grabbed the chair. Sheila Dixit is no longer discussed in Delhi Politics but, Chhagan Bhujbal is sent behind the bars.
For the younger segment of netizens, and the politically un-inclined, Chhagan Bhujbal would be an obscure name. Neither did he grab media headlines in the decades spanning the nineties and 21st century; nor did he do anything unusual in politics or displayed any irresistible charisma in what was the latter half of his political career. For the ones who have not followed news about him here is a quick update. He was taken into remand on 14th March, which will continue till 31st March; during which Enforcement Directorate will further procedures, investigations and actions against him in what is estimated to be a 800 crore scam. ED has found evidence of illegal movement of money facilitated by Bhujbal to the tunes of 200 crores in Maharashtra Sadan scam. While he maintains he had the blessings of Vilasrao Deshmukh, CM at the time of construction which also saw Chhagan Bhujbal as the Deputy CM. Having blessings of Mr Deshmukh definitely does not absolve Bhujbal of his misdoings (as alleged and prima facie substantiated by ED, here important to be mentioned because of ‘innocent till proven guilty’), though the former maintained a relatively clean image among Congressis in the INC-NCP rule.
Well, scams occur. Politicians are implicated. But this one needs special focus for two reasons:
One, Bhujbal is no ordinary politician. He could have been Balasaheb. Bhujbals could have been the Thakreys. It didn’t happen. Just like Shatrughan Sinha did not become Bachchan. Just like Kambli did not become Tendulkar. Apparently always in awe of Balasaheb, Chhagan Bhujbal sang paeans to him even after him-as home minister-tried to get Balasaheb arrested during Bombay riots.
Just as a story is incomplete without protagonist’s past, we have to delve into his. Coming from a family of vegetable seller, and himself being a part of the profession, his meteoric rise was noticeable. An outspoken person and fearless (according to Wikipedia), he saw his political career taking off – winged by Shiv Sena and propelled by Balasaheb, in the late 70s. Having served as Mayor of Mumbai twice, his past looks powerful. It is a son-of-soil story coterminous with a rags-to-riches story, bringing arrogance, and pride which has still not gone, before what can be a great fall as we move ahead. His love-hate relationship with Sena and final embrace of NCP-which is nothing but Congress by blood- brought bitterness to Maharashtra politics, already fraught with dynastic tendencies. It should be noted that his nephew Sameer Bhujbal played an instrumental role in siphoning money off the project, and allocating a major chunk of project cost to family owned businesses.
Two, ED deserves special credits for the arrest of a heavyweight without a preceding media glare or a public outcry. Almost never in the past, has a politician been arrested, or charged against, without the above two pre-requisites. ED doing its job without any visible pressure to punish crimes of money laundering deserves praise.
Chhagan Bhujbal is a hero of the old school politics, the one before liberalization and end of license raj.
Things changed drastically after India’s merging with the global economy. Indian politics changed too. It became a lot technocratic. Good economics actually became good politics. As most of us will not be able to relate to his times, narrations of the era are brought alive in movie plots and in non-fictional accounts of the same.
In ‘Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi’ a critically acclaimed movie which is set against the backdrop of emergency in India, there is scene which once seen, cannot be forgotten. Two Congressis are trying to fix a deal with a government babu in presence of a proud self-proclaimed pimp. The official is nervous when told to misconduct, and he also cites laws which would prevent him in doing so. Congressis are assertive, and try to assuage his anxiety by conjecturing a smooth sail bolstered by their futuristic presence, and insisting that they will take care of this.
Babu with a meek voice dares to produce the counterfactual, ’What if you aren’t present?’
Justice to the lusty roar of laughter the Congressis henceforth produce, as they look at each other, filled with arrogance can only be done by this adjective – guffaw.( This is the closest word I could find as English equivalent of ‘Attahaas’.) Their guffaw is repulsive though it comes from their heart. Their heart, now black with arrogance which power brings along will impinge an image in viewers psyche. The vivid images here produced, fell into place during UPA2 where we saw ‘a scam a day’. The ‘we are democratically elected’ rhetoric of the shameless corrupts saw them reduced to a 44. The imaginary impunity that they expected is slowly falling brick by brick. I am pretty sure Chhagan Bhujbal and his likes would have thought the same while not thinking twice before indulging in massive corrupt practices.
The 370 page document against Sheila Dixit might have vanished, but not all such Congressis will be exonerated by any more unsaid agreements by opposing governments – this is probably the message behind unrelenting crusade against Chhagan Bhujbal and corrupts alike. The Congressis in the said movie actually ask each other laughing, ‘where will we go?’ as the answer to Babu’s fears. Bhujbal must have asked his minions the same question. Only that he now knows the answer – Arthur Road Jail.
Also, Kejriwal – Never overpromise and underdeliver. The electorate is not as stupid as you think.