A few days ago when eminent jurist Harish Salve explained the new Supreme Court order on publishing phone transcripts the facts were not lost on anybody, except the Congress Party. “If there is a telephone conversation between A and B about how corrupt C is, it will be very unfair to publish it without verifying as it destroys the reputation of C. A and B might be indulging in loose talk at the cost of C and publication of such a transcript will go against the basic fundamental right of a citizen”, elucidated Salve on national TV.
The next day Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Digvijay Singh had visited Bhatta Parsaul in what now seems to be a state-sponsored visit. Both the leaders alleged that large stacks of hay were found burning “along with human remains”. When a well-known TV anchor asked Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan about the basis of such serious charges being leveled against Uttar Pradesh government without any kind of evidence or proof, Natarajan was at her acerbic best. She said, “as a political party we don’t need to give any proof or evidence as this is not a court of law. We will make allegations and it is up to the police to investigate to find the truth in the matter!”
That actually is the root cause of the confusion being created in Uttar Pradesh where wild charges are deliberately allowed to overwhelm the real issue of land grab. And the Rahul Gandhi along with Digvijay Singh and Jayanti Natarajan are like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza tilting at the windmill. It is undeniable that the state government has unleashed terror on the farmers in Bhatta Parsaul to facilitate the building of the Yamuna Expressway without paying them market value in compensation.
But Congress has been in the habit of making wild charges and getting away with it. They have done that to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for almost ten years over his complicity in riots without being able to produce any tenable evidence for the discerning public. The ostensible logic behind such a political move is that if you keep on repeating a lie people start to believe it. Also, if grave charges are levelled against a state government it becomes easy to stick lesser crimes on the same government. And if you have spokesmen like Manish Tiwari who are unaware of any decency in public debate, the discourse can be turned into a television serial.
Digvijay Singh is a past master in this kind of shock treatment given to topical controversies. He made wild charges against Mumbai police during the 26/11 debate saying that the slain policemen called him up just before their death. One wonders why Osama bin Laden didn’t call him up when US Navy Seals attacked and killed him?! The same lessons are now being learnt by others in Congress Party. Even after making ridiculous charges against the Mumbai police Digvijay Singh has not been held responsible for chicanery. Now Rahul Gandhi under his tutelage, and with abundant support from veteran Congressmen like Manish Tiwari and Jayanti Natarajan, is hoping to get away with wild charges against UP government.
In all this the UP government might itself be playing ball with Congress as it is evident in the PAC debate earlier. The real issues of land grab, the farmers’ plight at the hands of powerful corporates involved in infrastructure projects and lack of clarity in land acquisition policy have been lost in the din. The Congress is now loudly claiming that Rahul Gandhi has been misquoted for making remarks such as finding 74 bodies at Bhatta Parsaul, even while quietly acquiescing that he is still childish in his political moves. All this is perfectly orchestrated to suit everyone in the deal – the Congress Party, UP Chief Minister Mayawati and the corporates involved in the infrastructure projects. The only losers are the farmers who now have been left on the wayside.