Congress party’s mega rally in Delhi ostensibly to support FDI in retail attracted a massive crowd thanks to the mobilization by Congress governments in Haryana and Rajasthan. Pink-turbaned Haryanavis outnumbered participants from other states in Ramlila Grounds on November 4. Sonia and Rahul publicly thanked Sheila Dixit for organizing the rally but didn’t utter a word of praise for Haryana Chief Minister BS Hooda for bringing a large crowd from his state. Was it a snub to the Chief Minister for his “failure” to keep under wraps the shady land deals of Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi? The ruling party is patting its back for the show of strength and hoping it would turn the tide and put behind the taints of scams.
The question is did the rally succeed in convincing the people about the desirability of allowing FDI in retail? Did it generate any hope of Government bringing down prices of essential commodities? The trading community made the point by staging a symbolic rally at Jantar Mantar on the same day to protest against allowing FDI in retail and saying it was a “black day” for the country.
Congress leaders, barring the Prime Minister (who delivered a listless lecture on economy which the crowd largely ignored) made no serious effort to dispel doubts and concerns in the public mind about the likely fallout of the Government’s unilateral decision on FDI. The thrust of speeches from the dynasty was unsubstantiated attacks on opposition parties for “misleading” the masses on Government’s initiative on “economic reforms”, including FDI and leveling outrageous attacks on its political rivals for being “neck deep” in corruption while shying away from its own record on mega scams that came to light in recent years. Mud-slinging is Congress party’s forte. Unable to hide its crimes, it is back to its vicious strategy to spread the canard ‘sab chor hain’. The rally was a big flop if the intention was to divert media focus and public attention from the mega scams of the Congress-led Government and involvement of the dynasty in several of them. The media focus continues to be on dwelling deep into the corruption and malfeasance of the Congress-led Government and more significantly on Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Robert Vadra’s unethical transactions. The dynasty is in jitters since it is in the direct line of fire on massive kickbacks in allocation of coal blocks, Robert Vadra’s illegal land deals and the dynasty grabbing Rs 2,000 crore worth property belonging to Associated Journals Private Ltd (AJPL) under the garb of reviving National Herald – a daily newspaper Nehru founded way back in 1938.
“Our conscious is clear, our record is clean and our intentions are good. There is no need for the Congress to be on the defensive”, thundered Sonia Gandhi in the FDI rally. Her speech-writer had done a fine job and she read out the script as a good actor demonstrating fire attacking opposition and defending the indefensible. You were wrong on all counts, Madam Sonia Gandhi. Your conscience is not clear, Congress party and your family’s record is most unethical and your intention was to mislead the people. Your mission is to make money and try to win elections on fake promises, hollow claims and by pandering to Muslim and Christian vote banks. She seems to have realized that her days in power without responsibility are numbered. The masses are fed up with the Government remote controlled by her. She, her family and the party she heads are corrupt to the core. Her pretentions of innocence convince no one. Voters have seen through her and are drifting away from the ruling party for countless reasons. Back-breaking prices of essential goods, mismanagement of economy and lack of governance has filled people’s cup of misery. No wonder, the national mood is against the Congress and the dynasty.
Documents in public domain expose the web of political links that enabled Vadra to make easy money by purchasing land that was never paid for and sold at a much higher price after getting clearance for land use change by abusing his position as a member of the dynasty. It is a fascinating tale of falsehood and fraud. Satyanand Yajee, a close friend of Haryana Chief Minister B S Hooda and owner of a realty business, sold to Vadra’s Skylight Hospitality 3.5 acres in Shikohpur village in Haryana for Rs 7.9 crore. Surprisingly, the seller of the land, Yajee never presented the cheque drawn on Corporation Bank. Vadra’s company showed this amount as an over-draft from Corporation Bank. The bank lost no time in clarifying that it had never given any overdraft to the company. Revenue officials say the transaction was a violation of section 82 of the Registration Act of 1908 as the deal was not completed between the vender and the vendee and attracted penalty. However, the Haryana Government looked the other way for obvious reasons. IAS whistle blower Ashok Khemka, ordered an enquiry into Vadra’s land deals, including the above mentioned fraudulent deal, that prompted his sudden transfer. As a cover up, Deputy Commissioners of three Haryana Districts issued clean chits to Vadra even as a three-member Committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary Krishan Mohan was enquiring into the matter. While the Congress Governments go witch hunting against opposition leaders and social activists, it is not even considering a fair and transparent enquiry into the shady land deals of Vadra.
Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul are also in the line of fire in the fraudulent transactions pertaining to Associated Journals Private Limited (AJPL) publishers of now-defunct National Herald and Quami Awaz. AICC transferred about Rs 90 crore to AJPL as interest-free loan. Amidst allegations of transferring party funds to the dynasty, loyalists came up with one half-baked excuse after another. Ultimately, the Congress came up with the explanation that the interest free loan was given to enable the company to pay its liabilities to employees so that it could revive the publications. Employees’ Union cried foul saying money was never used to pay their dues. It now emerges that the money was used to transfer control of AJPL to Young India – a new company in which the mother son duo together own 76 per cent of the shares. This was managed by Moti Lal Vohra, a prominent dynasty loyalist and one of the directors of AJPL, by converting the loan into 9.02 crore shares of Rs 10 each and transferring these to Young India for a consideration of a paltry sum of Rs 50 lakh. The proposal met with resistance from some of the remaining 1088 shareholders who were thus reduced to a minuscule minority. Former Chief Editor of Quami Awaz, Ishrat Ali Siddiqui, accused the board members of having no intention of reviving National Herald and said their intention was to grab the real estate owned by AJPL. Legal luminaries opine that these transactions violate several laws, including the Representation of People Act and Income Tax Act. It is a fraud on the part of the mother-son duo to grab properties in prime locations in Delhi, Mumbai and Lucknow. The brazenness of the dynasty and the party is appalling. But who cares?