To begin with, let us not be sensational about the TMC sting operation that exposed Trinamool Congress. Unlike other sting operations in the past, this one didn’t excite anybody particularly. Yes, many known faces of a prominent political outfit are seen receiving bundles of cash. But there is a reason no one batted an eyelid. We knew this tomfoolery was prevalent with so much certainty that the TMC sting operation made no difference at all. It didn’t even confirm our suspicions for there was nothing to confirm in the first place. After all, this clique conned the people of Bengal through Sarada and Rose Valley. This clique allowed terrorists to carve out their own fiefdom in Bengal. This clique goes around threatening people to tow its line, and those who do not concede learn the hard way. In essence, we knew perfectly well that the concept of integrity was alien to them.
The Trinamool Congress rules one of India’s most populous states. The Trinamool Congress is among the largest parties in parliament. It is an important player in the disarrayed opposition ranks. The party’s supreme leader is the only one on whom the TMC sting operation was not conducted. All other important leaders and known faces who make the party’s top brass have been caught red handed. This includes prominent members of parliament, former and current ministers and other influential persons. Observe their body language in the video. Receiving thick notes of currency and stowing them carefully seems second nature. The nonchalance with which they conduct themselves, without any of them even once suspecting the presence of a hidden camera, tells us how rampant the entire exercise must be. Again, nobody is surprised.
The TMC Sting video is two years old. The instinctive reaction would be to question the timing of its emergence, since it is so close to the upcoming assembly elections.
But these men and women who are seen receiving all that cash are quite professional in their own right. Questioning the timing, or questioning the leanings of those who procured this footage, or questioning anything for that matter wouldn’t absolve them. It must have dawned on them that the only way to exit this mess would be to call this video fake. Moreover, denouncing the authenticity of footage that casts you in a bad light has been rather fashionable of late. Leaving no stone unturned, the Trinamool took the ‘doctored video’ defense one step further alleging that the entire operation was funded by foreign powers. Without any evidence or investigation, these are the general conclusions that the party has reached in regard to all eleven people who were caught.
Narada News, the media house which conducted the expose, is not well known. It is based out of Dubai. It covers every genre of news and focusses on investigative journalism. It is run by former Tehelka employee Mathew Samuels, who orchestrated the TMC sting operation which caught Bangaru Lakshman red-handed. Narada News seems to have spent a lot of time, money and energy behind the TMC sting operation. Unfortunately, it hasn’t exactly had the desired effect of sending shockwaves across the country.
For the first time, this isn’t because of the mainstream media. The mainstream media did cover it, and would have probably dug even deeper if it wasn’t busy beating a dead horse (pun intended). But there is a hypocritical angle to this as well, after all it is the mainstream media. Just before the Bihar elections, some prominent ministers and leaders belonging to the JDU and the RJD were caught accepting bribes in a sting operation. The mainstream media stayed fifty feet away from that story. The Congress back then was fighting the elections in alliance with Nitish and Lalu, whereas today it stands alongside the commies ready to take on Mamata. I cannot think of a better reason than Congressional allegiance for these double standards in reportage. But the fact remains that despite mainstream media coverage, the TMC sting operation has failed to make a dent.
When sting operations, scams and other misdeeds become indefensible, political parties tend to lay the entire blame on the perpetrator, painting him or her as a fringe element or a bad apple. Sacrificing one individual for the party’s sake is their resort. With the Trinamool Congress though, it isn’t a case of one bad apple. The entire tree is severely infected. But the party’s communal games have been a work in progress for long, and they will win the forthcoming elections despite the TMC sting operation. The only quarter which can provide justice is the Advani-led ethics committee of parliament, before which this case now stands.
No sting operation has exposed so many influential individuals together in the past. No sting operation has eroded an important party’s credibility to such an extent. And yet, no sting operation has left the country so unsurprised. Never have we come across such a Tell-Me-Something-I-Don’t-Know sort of sting operation. What is probably the most explosive sting operation of our times happens to be the most boring one too. Oh the irony!