More than a decade ago, a sting operation by Tehelka led to expose the then BJP president Bangaru Laxman, who was gullible enought to be caught on a video accepting bribe for the party. Moving to present day politics, a similar sting operation by a Kannada TV channel exposed the wife of state welfare minister Anjaneya accepting bribe.
While the minister denied that it was bribe, he alleged that his wife was innocent and might have been targeted in the sting operation to defame him but the fact remains that he was caught on the video and state chief minister S. Siddaramaiah feigned ignorance without promising any action.
Not long ago, an IFS officer Devyani Khopragade, a dalit officer posted in New York, faced a situation of arrest, humiliation and deportation bringing a major challenge to the service in the US. While Mussorie and Delhi-trained IFS officers are victims of such legal procedures, it is unlikely that a wife of dalit minister in Karnataka can have a better understanding of consequences of bribe taking in the country.
Politics apart, the sting operation exposes the deep-rooted corruption in every walk of life in the country, whether ruled by the congress or BJP or Aam Aadmi Party. But the timing of the sting brings forth the increasing allegations of inefficiency and lethary hitting the Karnataka government.
While the opposition BJP demanded the resignation of either Siddaramaiah or Anjaneya owning responsibility, soon Anjaneya would be asked to step aside but the umblical chord of corruption is so deep-rooted in the state that it may not vanish.
“Siddaramaiah, who has been claiming that his government is clean, stands exposed in the sting operation. The Chief Minister must immediately resign from the post,” senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said but even his own cabinet faced corruption charges.
“I would not like to talk much about whether the minister’s wife was involved in accepting bribe or not, but I would suggest the Minister to resign and Chief Minister initiate an inquiry into the issue,” said Shettar. But that is not the end but a key lesson for all political parties to educate Dalit leaders and their wives too on intricacies of politics and not end up as victims always.
The only state under the Congress worth to cite, Karnataka is otherwise passing through a worse phase in the state’s development of late. Power failure, almost half the day in Bangalore and almost 3/th of the day in rural areas is a testimony to inefficient and ill-planned governance by the current government.
Other major infrastructure projects too have either been stalled or paced down to virtual inertia. The much-touted “Namme Metro” has not made any progress in the last three years of Congress rule except for one small route being opened for traffic.
While pillars all over the city remain glaring examples of the Metro Rail project in the IT city, unimagined delay in completing the projects reflect the state government’s apathy to higher tax-yielding city in the country.