The Congress party is so scared to seek votes on the basis of its performance during the past five years?and its earlier tenures?that it devised a negative strategy to shift the focus on the personality of the NDA'sprime ministerial candidate LK Advani and his performance during the NDA rule.
The ?brilliant? strategy to demonise the BJP stalwart has misfired. He emerged unscathed from the skirmish while the credibility of the Congress, or whatever was left of it, has suffered. There is great merit in Advani'scontention that in politics, the person who is unreasonably targeted and demonised ultimately benefits. Look, what happened in Gujarat. The more they demonised Narendra Modi, the stronger he emerged. Congress'scampaign of vilification has not impressed the masses. Advani'spublic stature has gone up.
One of the crucial issues the BJP stalwart has raised during the campaign is the pledge, that if returned to power, he would strive to bring back the money looted from India by corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen. Although no one knows the exact amount stashed away in 37 tax havens around the globe, Global Financial Integrity, a renowned watchdog, estimates it to be between Rs 25 lakh crore and Rs 70 lakh crore. Experts believe that even if only 1/4th of the looted money is brought back, it would be enough to transform India into an economic superpower by meeting our entire external debts and to build world-class infrastructure. This is a golden opportunity that has come our way because of the pressure built on Switzerland and other tax havens by Germany, US and other Western countries.
Why is the Congress reluctant to energetically pursue the matter? Is it because most of the Indian politicians involved in the crime happen to be Congressmen for the simple reason that the party had been at the helm of affairs for most part of our 62 years as an Independent nation? The ruling party has tied itself in knots by offering alibis to wriggle out of the situation. The Prime Minister, who is projected as an honest man committed to probity in public life, was quick to question Advani for quoting an exaggerated figure of dirty money. What is more important, the exact amount of money or the fact that black money is stashed away abroad? PM gives one the impression that he is not interested in getting the money back. He just wants to hit back at Advani. BJP never claimed it knew the exact figure. It quoted certain sources. Congress is cribbing over a non-issue. It is an established fact that money kept in secret accounts by certain corrupt Indians is mind-boggling. Let there be a national consensus on making strenuous efforts to get back the loot. But the ruling party is hiding behind alibis.
Senior Congress leaders ask why Advani raised the issue ?now?. They know the answer but are trying to obfuscate the matter. Leader of Opposition had written to the PM on the issue way back in April 2008 soon after it was known that the German government had bribed a bank official to obtain a CD containing a list of 1500 persons, including more than 500 German nationals, who had kept dirty money in LTG Bank. Germany offered to provide names to other governments of their nationals. Several Western countries obtained lists of their nationals who had secret accounts in the bank but India didn'teven apply. To make matters worse, Finance Ministry wrote to Indian Ambassador in Germany not to press German government for releasing names as it might offend them even after Germans had made a public offer to provide lists for free. This is the level of Congress commitment to protect the corrupt and anti-nationals.
Having committed to bring back the looted money stashed away in secret bank accounts abroad, the party has outlined its plans to utilise the money in developing a world-class infrastructure?physical as-well-as social. It has identified 100 projects of national importance?including world-class highways, metro rail services in 25 big cities, modernisation of 100 important railway stations, creation of 1.2 crore IT enabled jobs, extending broadband connectivity to all villages, river linking, check dams/ponds in six lakh villages? and the pledge to complete them in the next five years. It would set up a high-powered agency to monitor the progress of these infrastructural projects. BJP has, thus, emerged as a party with a clear vision and commitment to fulfill its promises. It has so far issued three vision documents on Information Technology, bringing back stolen money stashed away in banks abroad and the latest one on infrastructural development. The Congress, on the other hand, devoid of vision and scared of contesting polls on its performance, is offering only alibis.