April 25, 2010

The Altar of Hypocrisy and Expediency

Modi, Pawar and Tharoor

The fallout from the fight between Shashi Tharoor, the ex-Minister of State for External Affairs and Lalit Modi, virtual boss of IPL, the biggest sports-related Brand that he has created, has highlighted the sway of hypocrisy and expediency in our polity.

It all began when a disparate entrepreneur group, the Kochi consortium ‘mentored’ by Shashi Tharoor decided to gate crash into IPL, which has become a closed group with only the chosen few allowed to own a team. The “bouncer” standing at the gate is Lalit Modi who practically manages how the favored ones get in and others are kept out.

In the latest round of auctions, two groups were to be the favored ones, Videocon and Adani Group. Although some pressure might possibly have been put on Modi from people in BJP in respect of Adani, those familiar with the IPL-BCCI scene know that the man who really calls the shots is the big daddy Sharad Pawar, the unofficial boss of BCCI, the parent body of IPL. Lalit Modi is the IPL boss as far as execution is concerned. He was apparently asked to ensure that the auction was conducted to secure winning of the favored ones.

IPL Stadia
Cheerleaders to Tearleaders?

A Dirty Game - for the sake of the Game of Cricket
The first hurdle devised by him to eliminate small bidders, i.e. new entry norms of $ 1 bn. in net worth and a huge bank guarantee, was soon removed after the participants protested to Manohar who in turn objected to Pawar. Modi then made friendly suggestions to the bidders to bid specific amounts such that the bids of the favored two would come out at the top. His prompting went unheeded. Sahara and Kochi bid high based on their own calculations and won the bids. While Sahara for Pune was obviously no pushover, a possibility was seen that the relatively unknown Kochi Consortium could be persuaded or intimidated and made to withdraw. A back out option for $ 50 m. was offered by Modi to them obviously at the instance of those who wanted the favored one to be brought back in the picture. Even more sinister and desperate measures taken by others have also come to light. (see here) As the Kochi group was unmoved, Modi started using dilatory and harassment tactics before awarding the bid. When nothing worked, in a totally mala fide action Modi placed the details of ownership of the Kochi Consortium on his Twitter time line, tipping the media about it to give it widespread attention.

Media Prepares the Case
As Modi had intended, the media did blow up the information particularly when pointedly told that one of the shareholders Rendevous had a 25% free equity in the Consortium and that a lady friend of Tharoor was in turn given a part of that part. It was further disclosed that she had the share as sweat equity. The print and television media vied with each other to twist and turn facts and intertwined them with imagination, speculation and half-baked knowledge to present a story to a gullible audience. The “news” story created a strong impression amongst the credulous public that by helping a bidder group, Tharoor was guilty of serious wrongdoing the like of which had not been seen before. To give more credence to the media’s summary conclusions, his friendship with the lady was played up with snide and scurrilous remarks in bad taste.

Enter the political class
BJP, the main opposition party, which has otherwise been quite ineffective in making any worthwhile impact on issues of real national importance where the Government has failed miserably, then seized upon the opportunity to score some political points from the story. It came out quite aggressively as Ravi Shankar Prasad its spokesman, beside himself with rage, fumed in the press conference at Tharoor’s grave sin almost as if he had given away the nuclear secrets of the country and demanded that he be sacked. The hypocrisy of the party was quite evident considering that it supports or tolerates persons like Yeddy, Reddys and Raje within its own fold and Badal and Soren as allies in the States to stay in power. Regardless, it mounted an attack on the junior minister and other political parties too found it expedient to join them in a deafening chorus baying for blood.

And Tharoor
Smarting from the accusations, the man who wants to provide an example of an honest politician wanting to make a difference tried to defend himself in public and in the Lok Sabha as best as he could. He asserted that he was only trying to offer his informal guidance to an intending bidder group being particularly interested in helping the Consortium which chose Kochi in Kerala in which State he has a legitimate interest as an elected MP from the State. If successful, it would bring benefits to the people of Kerala. He further said that the fact that a friend of his had been given sweat equity was neither an unusual arrangement in such commercial ventures nor was he going to benefit from the same. Further, he said his help did not involve misuse of his Ministry and most importantly, that he was not in a position to affect the eventual outcome of the bidding. His formal statements in Lok Sabha before and after he was forced to resign are given (see here and here). A later interview by the lady who willy nilly faced the spotlight, gives her own perspective. (see here)

Congress Party
As the controversy spread like wildfire, the Congress party scrambled to find a solution to douse it. The party with a history of dubious ethics and indulgence towards corruption was at its hypocritical best - or worst - and suddenly found the need to be seen as clean as ultra pure RO treated bacteria free water of the Ganges. As the Prime Minister was abroad for some work which few seem to care about, other senior Congress ministers pondered over the crisis and sought explanations from Tharoor. He stood his ground and claimed that no impropriety was involved. When the PM came back and was briefed, Tharoor gave his explanation to him too. But no sooner a signal was received from the party chief that Tharoor had to go, than everyone found that his explanation was not satisfactory. The party’s decision was also dictated partly by expediency and inconvenient timing as a lot of important business had still to be transacted in the Parliament. Tharoor was asked to resign which he did. A relatively weak goat was sacrificed at the altar of hypocrisy and expediency.

The party’s hypocrisy is evident from the fact that apart from an overall public sense of corruption having grown manifold in the last over five years, even at this time, it is tolerating persons regarded in public perception as highly corrupt or ‘history-sheeters’ of wrongdoing – from within itself as well as its allies. So great is the Party’s propensity to tolerate wrongdoing that even the Prime Minister had said of one his Ministers that “he is a valuable colleague”, forgetting that the high valuations they place on their colleagues have to be paid for in one way or the other by the people.

After the Resignation
Under the shadow of ignominy at having had to sacrifice one of their own and scalded by accusations of inaction against alleged scandals in the IPL the Government has galvanized the revenue and other authorities into hyperactive mode to take action against all those who may be involved in wrongdoing relating to IPL. As events are unfolding, once again the media has been working overtime to give its interpretations of the events and once again jumping to conclusions that they feel their audiences are willing to lap up. After Tharoor, the next goat – though not weak in any way – Lalit Modi, the IPL boss is about to be sacrificed in a similar way.

And the People…
We, the People, are the ultimate and real protectors of Democracy and have to clearly demonstrate our own maturity after over 60 years of democracy. While the people have every right to vehemently protest against wrongdoing, equally, there is also a responsibility to maintain fairness and objectivity and uphold the sound principles on which democracy thrives.

Consider for example, the case of Tharoor. From the prisms of those prejudiced or those against his party or those who simply believe whatever is said, surely he is guilty based on whatever is in the public domain. But from another perspective, things may appear differently. People in authority, MPs and Ministers are requested by others to help in umpteen matters. Any MP or Minister worth his salt does oblige by rendering his help where possible. Such help is rendered routinely, sometimes even using their own authority, without being considered impropriety. It is also reasonable to assume that those who are helped may derive at least some benefit through such help. Is it fair to assume that if a person getting such help has some benefit, the Minister/MP also necessarily partakes in that benefit? Also, MPs and Ministers are constantly trying to help their constituencies in ways that bring benefits to the constituencies. What Tharoor did and much more than what he did, is done openly or obliquely day in and day out by those with some authority without necessarily misusing their office.

On the other hand, the media, the politicians and the people know full well the massive wrongdoing that is not only being done but is regularly coming within public knowledge. No eyebrows are raised over such cases. Instead, the eyes are just shut. When a minister of a junior partner in a coalition government is found indulging in wrongdoing, such cases are shrugged off. Instead of protesting, people show indulgence on the ground that these are compulsions of coalition politics forgetting that the people’s expectations of a clean government cannot be constrained by such compulsions and they may be of concern only to the parties that form the Government not the people.

In the present case, the media and mass frenzy appear to be creating a new principle that a man is guilty unless proved otherwise. If Tharoor is guilty by our standards of political morality, surely he deserved to go. Fair play also requires a similar fate for those within the Government accused of similar or graver improprieties. Thoroughly swayed by the media onslaught, the people seem to have been carried away and joined in the ritual dance to hasten the slaughter of the sacrificial goat. The media and politicians have damned, condemned and all but lynched a person. While a goat was sacrificed, the vultures and the hyenas of the Carpe Omnia club in the government roam free, waiting for prey including goats in human form. ( see here)

The Cheer-dealers, sharing sweet smell of success

IPL and Modi
IPL is well and truly caught in an unenviable position where the tremendous Brand value it has gained over the last three seasons is in danger of being eroded. As for Modi, he may well rue the spark he provided on the Twitter which started the wildfire that is now engulfing him. A failed bid to dislodge those who had won the bid has landed him on the same altar from where Tharoor was sacrificed. Only, he is not by any means a weak goat. He will certainly need to pay for whatever wrong he might have committed. If BCCI and IPL are shown to be involved in so many dark deeds, all those who are part of the set-up should be made to share the blame and made to pay, including Sharad Pawar, the man with the ScaMidas touch, who has been very much working behind the scenes all along in spite of assertions to the contrary. There is no doubt that Modi has created a legendary brand and in that sense has served the country. He would be doing a much greater service if he took down with him some of those who encouraged or allowed him to commit any wrongs.

At the end of the day, if only the two minor ones are sacrificed, an old proverb may have to be re-phrased:
Caesar’s wife must be above reproach, but what about Caesar ?

सारे जहाँ से अच्छा, हिंदोस्ताँ हमारा


Salomi said...

a very balanced analysis while people are getting carried away for one side or the other

deshi the twitterer said...

you are very right. in fact on twitter people are always trying to discourage from giving ones own views. my view that tharoor was sacrificed unnecessarily.

ground zero said...

It is nothing but utter hypocrisy of the middle class that while corruption of people like Madhu Koda is corruption worth punishing, that by people like Tharoor is worth forgiving. Just because a lot of muck is tolerated does not mean a scum like Tharoor should be spared.

keepcool said...

@ground zero

by no means should one be spared and another punished.no one says that only the big ones should be punished. but BOTH must be punished.

only then will the system have any credibility.

by the way, do you belong to the rich and wealthy that you abuse the middle class.

mustakin a. hyderabad said...

what middle class hypocrisy ground 0 is talking about? it is a fashionable phrase to use when criticizing anything.

and what is meant by "just because a lot of much is tolerated"? why should a lot of muck be tolerated in the first place?

news4you said...

Your detailed analysis of IPL scandal is rational and balanced. But what is rational and balanced otherwise in our corrupt political system? Nothing. Our political class is completely corrupt to the core and looting this country.

Yes, I am saying this from the past political scandals that we have seen and media played it as usual to the gallery. Harshad Mehta scandal of crores of rupees. What happened? Abdul Telgi scandal. what happened? Do you really think Abdul Telgi and Harashad Mehta and Bofors Quotrochi are the real players?

It will be very naive on our part to believe that. This IPL scandal too is just the tip of the ice burg and people like Lalit Modi are front men to cover up the real players using their funds parked in foreign countries. The black money created by these politicians, businessmen,Bollywood actors is coming in this game with fake bidders and investors.

And nobody need feel sympathized or sorry for Shashi Tharoor or Lalit Modi as they are all in the same game. Everyone is making money and looting this country. The facts that billions of dollars are made in profits by BCCI and IPL. Not a rupee is paid for the last three years to Government as a tax. Sharad Pawar from BCCI is asking for special tax examination is a utter shame.

This also has given space for betting and the real black money in millions is coming in circulation in our economy. Who knows, even the fake currency from across the border may be coming in.That is the heavy price we will be paying as a nation because of our corrupt politicians.

The money coming from foreign countries is again of these politicians and businessmen and Bollywood actors who find ways to park their unaccounted funds ourside India. Money is being shared by all these people involved in IPL and BCCI. Sharad Pawar, his family members, Praful Patel and family,Vijay Malya, Shilpa Shetty, Priety Zeenta, SRK are all involved in this loot as every hour reports are given by media about records and files missing. Yes,important records will be destroyed, misplaced and lost.

Nothing is going to come out of this IPL scam. Lalit Modis dues will be settled soon by Sharad Pawar and as long as Lalit Modi gets his pound of flesh, he will keep his mouth shut. He too is interested in money.

Just to enhance his bargaining power with all those who are making money from this IPL, which Lalit Modi knows first hand as he is the front man for people like Sharad Pawar, he is using media and sending veil threats to BCCI.

Already, how this settlement with Modi should be worked out so he keeps his mouth shut, Sharad Pawar has the formula ready.Now millions will change hands. And many other mouths with potential risk will be shut.

And one fine morning you will read headlines in the newspapers, CBI did not find any proof, any truth, in the claims about corruption in IPL. There is nothing against Lalit Modi to prove he has made money from IPL.

BCCI today has already made an official statement for Sharad Pawar,his family and Praful Patel. Saying,in no way anyone is involved with IPL scam. But who is BCCI to make statement like this? BCCI is not an investigating agency. How can they say with authority that these names are not involved in any ways? Without getting to the bottom of it? This is nothing but "you scratch my back I scratch yours" and let us make somebody "Bakra"

CBI has done this before in many cases and withdrawn their own claims.Quotrochi is a good example and there are many others. That is why CBIs credibility is many times in question.

But when the government people are involved in corrupt practices, how can we trust anyone?

Honestly, common people like us are made suckers by these politicians. Even the media has lost its credibility.Because,media today is not playing their role with honesty and professional integrity. Unfortunately,It also has become a purchasable commodity.

Who do we trust? This is the price we pay when we vote for wrong people in the government.

india-awake said...


Thanks for giving a rather long but very forthright viewpoint on the pevailing situation.

Although the system is full of corrupt people, it is also fair to say that there may be some who want to be honest. And it is such honest people who only can bring a ray of hope.

Whether Shashi Tharoor is part of the former or the latter group, only time will tell. For the moment, he has resigned as his own party showed that it did not believe him. At the same time, it is equally true that those who have been proven corrupt are still not affected.

Manish Ramchand said...

after reading a lot of biased reporting in the last ten days, this is a refreshing change.

very balanced and good perspective. Difficult to say either way about Tharoor as so much has been written about him.

news4you said...

India awake. Thanks for your response to my comments.

Yes, it was rather long. I agree with your point of view, not all can be tagged dishonest. However,it may sound a cynical view, but even if I try to convince myself, I am not getting convinced in all sincerity that, when a politician is involved, and going out-of-the-way, where he has no business, it is a clean affair.

I may be wrong, if it happens to be an exception. But today, Shashi Tharoor has given reasons to doubt his intentions and his connections with a lady in Dubai who also happens to be a part of the deal.

I am of a opinion, politicians should not be allowed to get involved in any ways in sport associations.

It is the political climate created by this political class that makes me doubt about everyone who gets involved in such activities.I know, there are still good people in our political space.

But let me take an example of our PM Dr Manmohan Singh.He may be good as a person. May be clean too, and even non corrupt. Yes, everyone says that and I believe it too.

But when he supports many corrupt people and his senior cabinet ministers are corrupt, what is he doing about it? What am I suppose to think about him?

Clean? Corrupt? Opportunist?

Mannu said...

A good question raised is about the ethical stand of mentor-ship of Tharoor. I was also wondering if that can really be put under scrutiny when i know for myself that these are the kind of obligation that we the people of India often want from our politicians ! And then, are we not suppose to pay them back for what they serve to us?!
I mean , in short tell me the name of one politician in power who is a poor man- poorer by party-Trust that he would be heading, poorer in the business he would be doing/managing. Name me one. where did his money come from?!
Now, by standards of what has been meted out to Tharoor, all such people can be taken into docks. But since only thatroor has gone to altar, the reasoning is well good to say that it is because he is a weak goat.
As for Modi, I believe he should be taken guilty because he tweeted what he ought not have done. Now that the pandora's box is open, he pay for it- technically for the sake of clean and free and fair investigations.
I am sure, if the congress party ideals are high, truely, tharoor will be forgiven and we will see him do a comeback.that might be a more agreeable end to this controversy.
as for modi, he be shifted somewhere else in the BCCI, but not at IPL Commissioner anymore, lest he become a monster bigger than life.
All that the govt, and free-fair democratic govt should do, is to take the penality for those extra/ hidden pennies in the deal, and leave the rest to resolve by itself.

Raja said...

This is nothing new. Indian politics has a history of corruption. People like Laloo are golden examples of the same....We all know sharad pawar is the great daddy of this show but predictably he did a deal with Manohar to let him and praful patel go scot free in exchange of Modi (who was his child at the end of the day)...India is not a democracy its still a colony run by Politicians....However i think this whole story is a ready material for 'Madhur Bhandarkar' to make his next film w/o much effort on writing...Because the story has been written from start to finish...He might have to buy the copyrights however from Pawar...

Mee, ashamed to be marathi said...

the corruption introduced in BCCI by pawar makes one sick.

how can the country tolerate such rascals!!

raju thawani, delhi said...

UPA government is nothing but a joint venture of thugs and crooks.

Dr. shyam gupta said...

पहले सब ने मिलकर पैसा कमाया, फ़िर जनता को मूर्ख बनाया, अब किसी और का नम्बर आया.
---ये खेल ही क्यों नही बन्द करदेते जो बिना पैसे खाये, बिना नन्गई दिखाये , बिना करोडों गंवाये खेला ही नही जाता. बाबू--ये अन्ग्रेज़ों का खेल जो ठहरा.

venkeye said...

where big fish hunnt the stakes are bigger.It is only smaller fish which get swallowed bigger ones roam free as usual.

nancy fernandes, mumbai said...

excellent analysis. also the previous articles on pawar show exactly what kind of worm he is.

Suman said...

हमारे देश के राजे महाराजे सामंत जमींदार ब्रिटिश साम्राज्यवाद के एजेंट के रूप में कार्य करते थे द्वितीय विश्व युद्ध के बाद ब्रिटिश साम्राज्यवाद का दुनिया में सूरज अस्त होना शुरू हो गया था और उसकी जगह अमेरिकन साम्राज्यवाद ने ले ली थी ब्रिटिश साम्राज्यवाद के चाकर तभी से अमेरिकन साम्राज्यवाद के लिए कार्य करना शुरू कर दिया था। उनके लिए देश और सामाज का कोई अर्थ नहीं है उनको अपनी शानो-शौकत बनाये रखने के लिए हर कार्य करने के लिए यह शक्तियां तैयार रही हैं आजाद भारत में पहला पाकिस्तानी जासूस मोहन लाल कपूर था जो कुछ पैसे और शराब के लिए देश के ख़ुफ़िया राज पकिस्तान के जासूसों को बेच देता था। उसी कड़ी में भारतीय महिला राजनयिक माधुरी गुप्ता जो इस्लामाबाद में भारतीय उच्च आयोग में अधिकारी थी आई.एस.आई के लिए काम कर रही थी पकड़ी गयी । आई.एस.आई अमेरिकन साम्राज्यवाद की प्रतिनिधि संस्था है। आज हमारे देश में अमेरिकन साम्राज्यवादियों की सबसे मजबूत पकड़ है देश के उच्च नौकरशाह अगर अमेरिकन दूतावास की शराब व दावतें उड़ा रहे हैं तो उनके लिए कार्य भी करते हैं । पूँजीवाद का उच्च स्वरूप साम्राज्यवाद है जिसके हितों के पोषण के लिए हमारी सरकारें कारगर तरीके से कार्य करती हैं देश की बहुसंख्यक आबादी से उनका कोई सरोकार नहीं है आज मुख्य चुनौती साम्राज्यवादी शक्तियों से लड़ने के लिए है। भ्रष्टाचार में लिप्त लोगों से किसी भी देश की खुफिया एजेंसी जब चाहे तब अपने मनमाफिक तरीके से कार्य कराती रहती है। इतिहास के पृष्ठों पर अगर नजर डाली जाए तो मोहन लाल कपूर माधुरी गुप्ता जैसे लोगों की बहुतायत है जिसे देखकर लगता है क्या गद्दारी हमारी परंपरा का हिस्सा है ?


Anonymous said...

Tharoor is not guilty.
He cant be clubbed with others. His only sin (if any) is that he should have disclosed the stake for sunanda before.