By Sushil Kutty
Some days you’re the bug, some days you’re the windshield! Of late, the Bharatiya Janata Party is the bug plastered all over India’s windshield. Before the ‘Bridge over River Machchhu’ in Morbi collapsed, there was ‘Operation Lotus’ going completely wrong in Telangana, making Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao label BJP leaders “brokers from Delhi”.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should sue. “Brokers from Delhi” is a direct assault on “Delhi’s asmita”. Also, ‘Operation Lotus’ is a blot on the nation’s conscience. Who doesn’t know that the ‘lotus’ is India’s “National Flower”, and the BJP took it as identity, and election symbol?
The only orange lotus in existence is the BJP’s saffron. Otherwise, the lotus is universally white except for the pink lotus, the colour of the TRS/BRS, which must be why the BJP wanted its hands on 20-30 TRS MLAs, targets of the so-called ‘Operation Lotus’.
Of course, there’s no free lunch. ‘Operation Lotus’ is nothing but horse-trading involving lowlife politicians and loads of money. The BJP wouldn’t admit to ‘Operation Lotus’ as the pejorative is associated with the buying of ruling-party legislators in states where the BJP had lost the last assembly elections.
That said, the ‘lotus’ belongs to the BJP and several states had felt the power of ‘Operation Lotus’ while several others had witnessed failed attempts. On Sunday, October 30, KCR accused the BJP of trying to “buy 20/30 TRS MLAs”.
The Telangana Chief Minister with national ambitions said “brokers from Delhi” had come with Rs 100 crore bribe per MLA and that four targeted TRS legislators proved to be “true sons of the soil”. “You have seen yesterday…They have sent brokers to buy each MLA for Rs 100 crore. They wanted to buy 20 or 30 MLAs and topple KCR’s government and take over Telangana so that they can implement privatisation as per their will.”
The day before KCR spoke these illuminating words, three persons who had allegedly attempted to “poach” four TRS legislators were caught “red-handed” with loads of currency notes, just like what had happened in West Bengal and was related to who will rule Jharkhand?
KCR’s four legislators were the cynosure at the public rally in a bypoll-bound assembly constituency at which KCR spoke. Till now, Operation Lotus has had a free run in several states of the country, emboldening those behind it to broaden its spread. Maybe, Telangana has put the brakes on the enthusiasm.
Maybe, henceforth, the Lotus-eaters would back off. ‘Operation Lotus’ is a fraud on the people and genuinely elected governments. Now, it’s daggers drawn in Telangana. The quid pro quo was Rs 100 crore in return for allegedly “leave the TRS and contesting as a BJP candidate” in the next assembly elections. It cannot be disputed that KCR and TRS had a close call.
The marquee ‘Operation Lotus’ is mounted on the back of central investigating agencies and the fear they generate in corrupt politicians. While the threat of arrest and exposure is a danger to such politicians, the fact that their fear can be turned into a means to subvert democracy itself is clear and present danger.
It’s another matter that democracy’s false deities have their own defence. The BJP is now “fighting back” and has approached the EC and the ED for thorough probes. One BJP MLA spoke of a “mystical game” involving local politicians and local public servants, who together enacted a “cinematic sequel to blemish leadership of a national party”.
The last time Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Telangana, there were complaints of the TRS removing hoardings and larger than life cut-outs of Modi. The BJP, TRS (now BRS) and the Congress are in a three-cornered contest in Telangana with no quarters given.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi while “running through Telangana”, as part of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, said the BJP and TRS were corporate enterprises. For the BJP and the TRS, Rahul is just “passing through” and the fight is between the BJP and TRS.
The BJP wants the Central Bureau of Investigation to intercede, but the KCR government took the precaution to withdraw general consent to the Modi Government’s caged parrot. There are eight states in BJP-ruled India where the CBI cannot do its master’s bidding. Let’s just say that it’s not just the bridge in Morbi that was in a state of suspension. (IPA Service)