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Bangaru Laxman’s case: A rude reminder of India’s ‘corrupt’ party structure

Whether it is the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Congress or others, the conviction of Bangaru Laxman should serve more as a lesson to all party followers. Here is a case when a party leader who had accepted bribe was caught on film and convicted with evidence, for the first time in India’s history of political parties.

The lesson is simple, if you are caught you are wrong, otherwise, everything goes off as usual in typical Indian “Chalta Hai” style. Here is Bangaru Laxman, a Dalit leader who was showcased by the party to claim its share of Dalit support but dumped him hurriedly, a day after his act was exposed by the Tehelka team.

More than a leader, Laxman was a follower of the BJP’s elite leadership and he was apparently let loose to collect the party funds bereft of any procedural set up by the leadership. When he was caught, he was ditched by the party which failed in the first place, to ensure a corporate compliance system for party donations.

While the due course of the case proves the effective legal system that we have, it is still far from the basics we should enshrine in our corrupt system. In 2011, India ranked 95th in the corruption list of 178 countries, moving up in the ladder of most corrupt nations. Every government official and leader grows with the belief that he and his followers are the due share-holders in the governance, and not the ordinary man.

When the ICC cricket match was played in Bangalore recently, the municipal councillors have unabashedly threatened punitive action for not gratifying their demands for free tickets. While it is shocking to many Western observers, it is part of the “Chalta Hai” Raj we have inherited in the country. Every government seal in India goes with a premium and it takes different shapes and turns. Bureaucrats are taught to feel that they are the government while the leaders are nurtured with the so-called right to redeem their hard labour in winning the elections.

No institution is spared from the corruption’s onslaught. No ministry of the government tolerates “defiance” by non-corrupt officials. No society, whether in Bihar or in Andhra Pradesh, tolerates honesty. The society has grown to a level of high corruption that non-tolerance to the diktat may prove dearer. The result? We are downgraded by rating agencies like S&P. Perhaps, S&P did not yield to Indian society’s corrupt practices yet.

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