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A new low in politics, hypocrisy and greed

November 22, 2013 08:16 IST

A new low in politics, hypocrisy and greed

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It was a day of the fall of the greats. The seamy side of Indian politics and society was very much in evidence as a sting operation showed those who had pledged to end corruption accepting cash on video, hate-mongers being publicly honoured, and a Bharatiya Janata Party state government taking suo moto action against a media personality charged with sexual harassment.

Several candidates of the Aam Aadmi Party, Shazia Ilmi, Kumar Vishwas, Dinesh Mohania and Irfan Ullah Khan were caught on camera accepting cash donations, even as Anna Hazare's charge that the party misused money collected for an anti-corruption agitation was still thick in the air.

While Ilmi is the party candidate from RK Puram, Mohania is contesting from Sangam Vihar and Vishwas is the party's spokesperson. The AAP said it had set up a committee to examine the charges against its candidates, but was unable to hide its chagrin.

In Agra, two BJP MLAs charged under the National Security Act (NSA) for inciting communal riots - Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana - were honoured at a rally that the party's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, was scheduled to address. But, they disappeared at least an hour before Modi arrived on the scene.

Clearly, Modi did not want to associate himself with the MLAs charged with rioting. The rally was adressed by Modi, Rajnath Singh, Vinay Katyar, Kalyan Singh and others, but not the two MLAs.

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Image: Shazia Ilmi
Photographs: Shazia Ilmi's Twitter account

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A new low in politics, hypocrisy and greed

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The BJP was baying for the blood of Tarun Tejpal, a staunch critic of the party. Not only did the BJP government in Goa refer the matter to the crime branch and call Tejpal for questioning, but party leader Arun Jaitley demanded that the journalist be charged with rape, not just harassment.

"The definition of rape was amended by Parliament subsequent to the Justice Verma Committees recommendations. The ingredients of an offence of rape as amended by Parliament are squarely made out in the victim's email. Why was the offence not allowed to be reported forthwith? Were any pressures brought on the victim not to lodge a complaint? How can an offence of rape be compromised by an atonement that the guilty will not attend office for six months? It is unheard of that a private treaty between Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Choudhary wipes out the penal consequence of rape. How can Shoma Choudhary so definitely say that the victim will not depose before the police? Is she not guilty of tampering with evidence in a rape case by pressuring a young employee to conceal the offence," asked the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

According to police records, 182 molestation cases were registered during 17 months since the BJP government took over in Goa. The cases were registered between April 2012 and September 20, 2013. But the average conviction rate for rape, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, is just 8 per cent, suggesting the government needs to show as much alacrity in respect of other cases of rape in the state as it has shown in the case of Tarun Tejpal.

As liberal society winced and squirmed, it was a new low in politics, hypocrisy and greed.

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Photographs: Courtesy Tarun Tejpal's website

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