Top Gujarat cop D G Vanzara appears to have come as a godsend to the Congress even though he has clearly written that he adored Chief Minister Narender Modi as his “god”.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in the Rajya Sabha were insistent that they would raise the issue of coal-gate having expressed dissatisfaction at the manner in which the prime minister had spoken on the matter, Congress managers used the letter written by Vanzara where he has resigned from the police force as the basis to turn the tables on the BJP.
The Congress offer to the BJP leaders was clear: dump both coal-gate and Vanzara and focus only on the bills to be passed in the house. But with the BJP insisting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath made it clear he would go on extending the house till the bills were passed. The BJP does not want the two houses to be extended beyond September 6.
Along with this, the Congress also set up its “friends” to raise the Vanzara issue. These included Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United, well as the left parties.
So while the BJP was keen to corner the government on coal-gate, the Congress turned the tables and literally used these parties to gherao the BJP on Vanzara and Modi.
“This has rattled the opposition benches,” said a senior leader as they have no answer on the Vanzara letter as it is extremely damaging to the BJP, and its leaders Modi and Amit Shah. In the meeting in the morning, senior ministers P Chidambaram and Kamal Nath ruled out any discussion on coal-gate saying that the BJP should co-operate in passing the Land Acquisition Bill, failing which the house will be extended.
After that there were five more meetings in the chairman’s chambers, before the Land Bill was taken up late in the afternoon, with the government agreeing to some amendments of the BJP and it will now have to go back to the Lok Sabha to be passed again.
The Lok Sabha has passed the Pension Bill, a key reforms initiative of the Manmohan Singh government which he needs to showcase before other world powers at the G-20 summit.
BJP leaders admit that the Vanzara letter has caused them a great deal of damage and embarrassment, as the assessment is that this is just a ‘trailer’ and that Vanzara is likely to speak more. Vanzara is witness to a large number of decisions ordered by Modi which can deal a tough blow to the chief minister.
Sources say that for the last six years, the Central Bureau of Investigation has been working on Vanzara to try and get him to speak up against the chief minister and Shah, but so far he had steadfastly stuck to his guns and backed Modi, refusing to say anything against him.
But finally his patience appears to have given way and it looks like more revelations are on the way. But senior lawyers admit that the problem is that after having backed Modi all the way, it may be difficult for the courts to take cognisance of Vanzara's changed stance.
However, the fact that he has chosen to write such a letter, may give hope to the United Progressive Alliance government that the courts would take action against Modi and Shah.