Sunday, Nov 23, 2003
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Bangaru Laxman...was he treated differently?
First it was the Tehelka. Now it is the Judev video. As it were, Indian politics is still to come to terms with the interventionist potential of the 24-hour news channel. Television has already redefined, in many ways, how the leaders and political parties try to reach out to the voter.
Suddenly the political class is discovering the power of the electronic gadgets to upset its carefully crafted strategies of disinformation and deceit. When the camera caught the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Dilip Singh Judev, allegedly "accepting bribes", the BJP found itself caught off-guard.
A party that has since the late 1980s thrived on a political culture of accusations suddenly began raising questions about professional ethics of the very practice of blowing the whistle on the corrupt and the venal.
It decided to pit the prestige and respectability of all its senior leaders against the damning video. Led by L.K. Advani, the BJP has opted to brazen it out and to dub the whole affair a "sting." Its calculus seems to be that the Indian voter is no longer disturbed by evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Ministers and leaders.
Dilip Singh Judev...An embarrassment to the party
On the other hand, the BJP decided to raise the decibel level of its own allegations against the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Ajit Jogi. The Congress leaders themselves are no mean practitioners in the art of mud slinging.
On Friday, senior Congress leaders marched to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, drawing the President's attention to allegations of misuse of office against six Central Ministers. The end result is a new low in election rhetoric.
It has simply degenerated into a never-ending cycle of "you abuse, I accuse". This cultivated moral indifference to ethical values in public life will be carried beyond the current State Assembly elections.
After the votes get counted, policies and decisions would inevitably remain hostage to unethical men and their unwholesome preferences. Our reporters examine the unfolding ramifications of the Judev affair... .
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