Political Ideals of Convenience

01 December 2010

The three financial scandals were different in nature but shared some modalities. First, they all involved massive amounts of public money. Between three trillion and four trillion rupees were spent on the CWG, more than ten times the original budget; the 2G spectrum handout has reportedly cost the exchequer 176 trillion rupees. The recent Adarsh building society scandal in Mumbai, huge in isolation, seems like small pickings in comparison.

Second, in every case, the United Progressive Alliance leadership—meaning Congress party President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh—took punitive action only after they were pushed into a corner by the media and the opposition. But by the time the waffling and the filibustering played out, the Congress’ hard-gained appearance of propriety had been wrecked for, at the very least, condoning top-level corruption.

It is ironical that this is the same party whose president had taken some extraordinary steps towards building a clean image of governance and propriety over the last few years.