The Campaign Diary – 5

At the release of the Congress manifesto, Rahul Gandhi was optimistic that the BJP’s ‘Balloon will burst’. The Congress President was equally affirmative that the opinion polls will prove wrong. I have repeatedly commented that opinion polls may not be accurate but the ones conducted by credible organizations indicate the broad direction of the public opinion. What is to be concluded from the broad direction indicated by the Opinion Polls published so far is that the Congress is nose diving southwards to a two digit figure and the BJP under Modi can hope to reach its highest tally in post-Independence history.

What indications are available with Rahul Gandhi that he has to call the groundswell for Modi a ‘balloon that will burst’? Can he compare the size of Modi rallies with his own? Can he compare the enthusiasm of candidates wanting to fight on a BJP ticket and the reluctance of many to fight on a Congress ticket? He has still not seen the reality in the fact that the DMK, TRS, LJP, TMC, PMK and MDMK have all deserted the Congress. He believes that his allies are intact. The largest representation that the UPA got in 2004 and 2009 was from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. This time in these two states the Congress figure may nose dive.

The Congressmen are living in denial. The finance minister P. Chidambaram has commented that the FIIs are re-investing in India because of the steps taken by the UPA government. World over the analysis is that a likely political change with the possibility of Modi led government at New Delhi is creating a new hope in the investors. The UPA government can only be credited with inheriting an 8.5 percent GDP growth rate and on the eve of its departure they have brought down the growth rate to 4.5 percent. The problem with those who imagine themselves to be the King is that they see success in their failure and a silver-lining in each disaster.

More on the Captain

I am back in Amritsar for the campaign. Being faced with arrogant comments each day from my opponent, I have started reading up on his performance and achievements. I went through the details of a charge sheet filed by the Vigilance Bureau in relation to a 2005 project in the city of Ludhiana where all rules were flouted by the then government. The chief minister had directed the removal of the Chairman of the Improvement Trust so that a more pliable gentleman could be appointed. Bidding documents were prepared without the necessary approvals. Work was undertaken flouting the rules. The bids were rigged in order to favour a particular bidder. Construction was allowed despite the authorities knowing that the agreement signed with the bidder was illegal and the construction was based on an unapproved design. Official position was abused in order to show benefits to a private party.

Worst still the charge sheet mentions that payments were made by the beneficiary to the chief minister and his family members and the money trail led them to a particular middleman with whom the monies were parked. The charge sheet does not make out a reading which may flatter anyone. The charge sheet states that the then chief minister kept the vigilance report in his custody without taking any action and did not hand over the original report to the authorities after demitting his office. So much for the Congress party’s commitment to probity.

Everyone in public life must be honest. Most certainly the rulers and Maharajas should display greater probity and transparency than lesser mortals.