An Open rejoinder to Shekhar Gupta’s National Interest edit of 2013-08-24:
No Mr Gupta, you are being economical with truth when you attack UPA government for slowing down growth. No doubt growth has slowed down and as the Government in office Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government have to take the flak.
But who started the process, when and how. After the spectacular results of the 2009 election results which clearly showed the UPA having endeared itself not just to the poor and the farming community through MNREGA and farm loan waiver, but also the upwardly mobile rising middle classes, whom the BJP considers its vote bank, the BJP started a campaign in each successive Parliament session, to raise the bogey of corruption. The Left in West Bengal and Kerala was also unhappy with the Bhadralok deserting it and moving over to the Congress-Trinamul alliance and therefore the two combined to target the UPA government with only one refrain from day one “Corrupt, corrupt, corrupt.”
Honestly speaking put your hand to your heart and say is this Government any more corrupt than its predecessor? No, my dear sir. Yet we had in Vinod Rai a replica of T N Chaturvedi as the former CAG, who had gone about indicting Rajiv Gandhi and in return was duly rewarded by two terms of Rajya Sabha and an indefinite tenure as Governor of a prosperous Karnataka state. Vinod Rai computed the “notional loss” in Telecom at Rs 1.76 lakh crore and the entire Opposition pounced upon the Government. Nobody says A Raja was not arbitrary and discriminatory in distributing telecom licences and for all we know there must have also been some monetary considerations involved. But who hasn’t? Vajpayee did when he turned the first mobile telephony licences from already auctioned to revenue sharing,at the behest of Sushma Swaraj. That time their Telecom Minister Jagmohan had computed the loss at Rs 50,000 crore for which he was immediately removed. Then your mentor the great crusader against corruption Arun Shuorie palmed off the entire BSNL along with vast tracts of land in prime South Delhi areas with several thousand crores market value, for a pittance to the Tatas. We will not talk here about giving away similarly the Qutab Hotel, Centaur Hotel and other national assets worth lakhs of crores to RSS sympathizers like the Batras. But that was not corruption! Nobody bothered to ponder that if the telecom operators had actually coughed up Rs 1.76 lakh crore in an auction, where would they recover that amount and the profit above it? Would they have paid from their pocket? No sir, that amount had to be recovered and more from the consumer and in turn would have made mobile telephony inaccessible for many of us, leave aside our maids and drivers who have two, three phones each today. The mobile phones have, in turn helped in basic literacy spreading across the country without much effort.
This Government gave us RTI, RTE, MNREGA, Reservation in education for the OBCs and is now attempting to give us Right to Food as well. Isnt it better than the BJP-led NDA government? I say it is. Just for this reason, I will vote for Sonia, Modi or no Modi.
I have followed how, egged on by Subramaniam Swamy a set of judges clearly biased against a Dalit Raja and an OBC Kanimozhi attempted to arrest the spread of mobile telephony and restrict the profits of this industry in the hands of Sunil Bharti Mittal, Ruis and such other few. This is what shook the investors’ confidence in the Indian economy. Tell me, Mr Gupta, since you are this great sleuth, what is the past of Sunil Bharti Mittal? How much money he had to invest when he started off Airtel? Didn’t he, an out of work sparing around types, look for foreign investors when he got the letter of intent for mobile telephony licence for free from Narasimha Rao? How did Hutch and Vodafone come to India? But if those whom Raja gave licences looked for foreign investors to enter the market, it hurt Mittal. But how would it have hurt me? And why should Raja have gone and given licences to those already pampered by the previous NDA regime? Thus we scared away the foreign investor
Similarly on coal blocks, while it is true that we had for a while an unscrupulous filmmaker Dasari Narayan Rao making money hands over fist, nobody recalls that the BJP actively conspired to ensure Rao as MoS preside over the Coal ministry by repeatedly attacking the then Coal Minister Shibu Soren and getting him locked up in prison on trumped up murder charges, till he surrendered to the BJP and aligned with it, after which the courts acquitted him of all the charges. Besides isn’t it a fact that from CPM led Left Front Government of West Bengal to BJP led Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan government, all opposed the auction of precious natural resources like coal and the committee to decide on allocations had representatives from all these state governments. At the end of the day we have stopped extracting coal from our mines and started importing it from abroad. The only place we could get cheaper oil for our energy is Iran. But you wouldn’t like that because your friends in Washington and Tel Aviv won’t brook Iran overcoming its economic crisis by selling oil to developing nations like ours and we would rather ruin our economy than dare to defy US/Israel diktat.
Naturally with all this the Indian esteem and with that the India rupee is going down in the international market. The Opposition BJP, led by your most honourable, much venerated Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi has gleefully succeeded in sabotaging not just the Indian Parliament but the India economy and the world is waiting for Modi to hold the reins of the Indian establishment. But promise me one thing, you and your ilks like Arnab Goswami, that if Modi somehow fails to make it even after all this, you will ask your mentor Arun Shourie through a public campaign to punish Modi and the BJP for pushing the nation economically, politically and socially several decades behind, like he did post 2009 against Advani and his D-4.
Please remember: “Bharat ke nirman pe haq hai mera” Sirf Adani, Ambani or Modi ka hi nahin.