Thursday, December 8th, 2022 22:04:31

UPA’s Biggest Crisis The Crisis Of Credibility

Updated: January 29, 2011 1:50 pm

The biggest crisis facing the UPA government is not that it is corrupt. The scale of corruption is mind boggling but people have been seeing corruption for a long time. The biggest crisis is not that the government cannot govern. People have lived with lack of governance for decades. The biggest crisis right now is that people do not know what to believe when the government asserts anything. Rightly or wrongly ministers are perceived as a bunch of liars. The biggest crisis is the crisis of credibility. The government has to blame itself if it is perceived to be congenitally unreliable.

                For months the government rushed to the press asserting that there was Pakistan’s hand in the Samjhauta Express blast. It claimed that the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was involved in the Malegaon blast. Followers of SIMI were questioned and even arrested for perpetrating the terrorist attack. Now we are told that sections of the RSS perpetrated these terrorist acts. This is based upon the confession before a magistrate by Swami Aseemanand who is in police custody. So was Pakistan blameless in these terrorist attacks? Surely then, apologies to Pakistan are in order.

                Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said that Mumbai’s slain police officer Hemant Karkare spoke with him on phone just three hours before being killed in the 26/11 terror. Singh said that Karkare told him that he was being threatened death by Hindu rightwing extremists. According to media reports Singh gave two versions. He telephoned Karkare and that Karkare telephoned him. Mumbai investigators said there was no record of Karkare having spoken on any such call. The telephone authorities said that they did not preserve the records after 13 months.

                Digvijay Singh used his influence and obtained the recorded call from BSNL. He displayed to the press the copy of the recorded call. Digvijay shared his information with the media two years after the event. But did he convey the crucial information he had gathered in his conversation with Karkare to the investigative authorities immediately after Karkare was killed? The investigative authorities should tell us. If he did not, it was an astounding omission by a senior political leader! Now lay people ask whether Digvijay’s paper record of the phone conversation is genuine or fraudulently created by the phone authorities. One is sure it is genuine. Digvijay speaks the truth. But after the erratic manner of disseminating information can ordinary people be blamed for being skeptical? Will it surprise if someone actually does utilize the Right to Information Act for verifying the truth? The CBI’s disclosure of Aseemanand’s confession came on the heels of Digvijay Singh’s tirade against RSS terror.

                Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has discovered that there was zero loss in the award of Spectrum 2G licenses. Former sacked Telecom Minister Raja had merely violated procedure. Should not Sibal step aside and allow the financially blameless Raja back in his post? Meanwhile the court has accepted the plea by Subramaniam Swamy to prosecute Raja. The Judge said: “I have gone through the complaint and the bunch of annexures…and I am of the view that this complaint is maintainable and the proceedings will continue.” So who is right, Kapil Sibal who claims that Raja merely overlooked procedure, or the court which believes that his alleged corruption deserves judicial hearing? People are confused.

                One can go on. But one does not have to specify the self contradictions of this government in various spheres. One is sure that all the ministers are very, very honourable people. But as wise politicians they must know that politics is a matter of perception. And rightly or wrongly the people are beginning to perceive this government as being totally unreliable. The people must be very mistaken of course. But it is for our wise government to make sure that they are made to correct their mistaken view. Otherwise the crisis of credibility can extract a frightening price from our democratic system.

By Rajinder Puri

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