Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the nuclear deal, irrespective of the consequences of the trust vote in Parliament, what this country today is witnessing is the most distressful of political behaviour, apart from being the most disgraceful. Principles are thrown overboard. Votes of Members of Parliament appear purchaseable. Apparently there is a price tag for each of them. Shibu Soren is offered a Ministership. Promise has been made to Ajit Singh that the Amausi Airport at Lucknow will be named after his father Chodhary Charan Singh.
It is questionable whether the Samajwadi Party, long at loggerheads with the Congress has come to the rescue of the devil with which it earlier refused to sup. At what price? It is no secret that there is a case against Mulayam Singh Yadav in the matter of disproportionate income. Has Mulayam struck a deal with the Congress for extending his support to it? If so, what is the nature of that deal? Is it strictly a matter of issue-based support, as is made out? It is questionable whether the Samajwadi Party or its leaders have any understanding of all the implications of the nuclear deal.
Then, taken the case of Mayavati. She has accused the UPA government of harassing her through the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In consequence, as it were, she has befriended the Left. The CBI has alleged that Mayavati has camouflaged various sources of funds to the tune of Rs 13.8 crore by naming 130 people as ?donors?. Donors? Why should anybody make donations to her except to garner favours? According to CBI sources, many of the so-called donors have been traced and many of them did not have enough to meet their daily needs!
According to Ajoy Bose, author of Behnji?a political biography of Mayavati?she has assets worth Rs 36.5 million in the Moti Bagh branch of the State Bank of India, Rs 2.345 million in the Parliament Street branch of the State Bank of India and that her moveable and immoveable assets jumped from Rs 160.7 million in 2004 to Rs 520 million in 2007. She was born and brought up in a ?poky little place? in the West Delhi ghetto of Inderpuri, but presently her listed assets include 72 houses, plots and shops.
A case had been filed by the CBI in 2003 which said that 131 properties had been listed in the names of members of Mayavati'sfamily. On September 14, 2003, The Times of India reported that the Income Tax Department was looking into the files of properties allegedly bought by Mayavati in the name of her relatives in Shimla, Ambedkarnagar, Saharanpur, Bulundsahr, Khurja, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Noida and Delhi. Ajoy Bose has produced a long list of Mayavati'sproperties, that comes as a surprise. How did she accumulate all that wealth? Hasn'tthe public the right to know?
Apparently it does not matter to the CPM what her bona fides are, as long as she is willing to vote with it on the issue of the nuclear deal. Exactly how much assets the CPM itself has accrued over the years is another matter. It has apparently enough resources to sustain some 3,000 cadres. It has acquired properties in Kerala worth crores of rupees, according to media reports. It is obviously just as unprincipled as any other party. It has accused the UPA of indulging in horse trading. It has accused the UPA of using the CBI to book Mayavati. Possibly. But shouldn'tit stay away from Mayavati until the charges against her are cleared? Should the CPM use Mayavati, just as the UPA has used the Samajawadi Party? Haven'twe any sense of rectitude?
The CPI has charged the BJP as ?communal? and of being a grave danger to the secular democratic polity of our country?. Obviously the CPI has forgotten its own murky and anti-national past. It betrayed the Congress in 1942 when Gandhiji inaugurated the Quit India movement when even the RSS gave shelter to Congress workers wanted by the police. And it is all too well-known how the Communists betrayed their own motherland when China attacked it in 1962. But the point is not about raking up the past but what is presently in the best interests of the country. Do our politicians have any idea about the 123 Agreement, about the Hyde Act, about the availability of uranium in India itself, about the reasons why such uranium as is available has not been mined, about the government'sreluctance to re-locate tribals now living in uranium-rich locale, about the reasons why the government forced the Department of Atomic Energy to shut down some old uranium mines in Jaduguda (Jharkhand), about why exploitable sites in Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya were not exploited, about why clean coal technology has not been given top priority etc.?
According to knowledgeable sources, new uranium mines have been commissioned at Bandu Hurang and Turamdih in Jharkhand and the units planned to start up during the 11th Plan period (upto 2012) include the Tumalapalli mine and processing mill (of 3,000 tonnes/ day capacity), the Lambapur-Peddagattu and associated Seripally mine in Andhra Pradesh. Uranium has been located in Meghalaya. One understands that by the end of the 12th Plan, India should be able to produce about 1,050 tonnes of uranium ore, enough to cater to two Heavy Water Reactors expected to be set up during the period. The government may have good reason why these facts have not been presented to the public. The government may even have sound reasons why the above named mines cannot be made operative. But shouldn'tthe public be informed about these facts and come clean?
According to a knowledgeable source ?it is better to shore up domestic resources than resort to imports through an undesirable deal?. But the larger question is why parties are not educated in these matters so that they can arrive at informed judgments and vote accordingly. Presently votes of ignorant partymen of dubious reputation are bought, and unscrupulous means are employed to fight political battles. What apparently matters to our politicians is not the nation'sinterests but the upholding of personal prestige. Some of the demands made by coalition partners for supportive votes are close to political blackmail.
And worse still, examples of corporate houses intriguing with political parties have been casting a shadow on administrative decisions. This is impermissible but the citizen feels helpless against these coercive developments. Coalition governments have turned into a nightmare. Those in power seem to put party prestige over national interests. This is a sure way of committing national suicide. No international organisation should be allowed to dictate to India on matters relating to its security. Neither should any nation. We are India. And we should have the courage to stand up for our convictions.