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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 27 New Delhi June 27, 2015

Towards New (Undeclared) Emergency ?

Monday 29 June 2015, by SC

EDITORIAL

It was written in these columns last week that ‘Modigate’ (or more precisely ‘Lalitgate’)—the revelations of the ruling party’s bigwigs’ deep connections with the fugitive evading questioning by the Enforcement Directorate, Lalit Modi—had exposed the rampant corruption within the BJP-led Narendra Modi Government. The past one week has only magnified the scale of such connections while highlighting the magnitude of corruption.

The latest disclosures have exposed Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje’s written deposition in the UK court to help Lalit Modi. It is now beyond dispute that she herself had signed a statement way back in 2011—filed by Modi’s immigration Attorney Ghersons with the UK authorities—endorsing Modi’s claim that he faced ‘political persecution’ in India for which reason he should be granted resident status in the UK; Raje had also conveyed that she was making the statement on the condition that it wouldn’t be made known to the Indian authorities.

This was in complete contradiction of Raje’s earlier assertion that she had not signed any statement to aid Modi in any immigration matter. Now her position is that she had indeed signed the statement but only in her personal capacity as a long-time friend of Modi and not as the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly in 2011.

However, the BJP leaders are on the horns of a dilemme: if action is taken against Vasundhara Raje and she is forced to resign by the central leadership of the party and Modi Government, they would be facing two possibilities: (a) the pressure to compel Sushma Swaraj also to resign from the External Affairs Ministry and Union Cabinet would grow; and (b) Vasundhara, who enjoys powerful support from BJP MLAs and the party organisation in the State, could launch a new regional party breaking away from the parent organisation. Neither of these would be acceptable to the central leadership of the ruling party. So they would opt to face the crisis and brazen it out keeping the two leaders in their respective positions. But what they have not bargained for is that that could tarnish the image of the party even more with the passage of time, especially when Vasundhara’s written deposition before the UK court (including her plea to keep her deposition a secret and not reveal it to the Indian authorities) strikes at the very root of our national interest.

The Union Government led by Narendra Modi is in the eye of a storm which threatens to assume a larger dimension in the days ahead. What is the way out? This is the moot question. If the Narendra Modi dispensation decides to emulate what Indira Gandhi and her younger son did on this very night forty years ago by imposing a new (perhaps, in this case, undeclared) Emergency to tide over the present crisis, the people will teach it the same lesson that was delivered to the Congress’ supreme leader in 1977. That outcome is beyond question.

June 25 S.C.