The UPA once again found itself in the center of a scam this week when the Hindu published certain US diplomatic cables that were part of the massive WikiLeaks dump.
The cables covered the intense political activity prior to a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha in July, 2008. The vote was due to the Indo-US Nuclear deal and hence of particular interest to the Americans.
One part of it claimed that an American political consultant was shown 'trunks of cash' by Nachiketa Kapur, an aide of Congressman Satish Sharma. Kapur claimed that the money was to buy votes for the UPA. The cables also recorded specific names that Kapur and others claimed had already accepted bribes.
This lead to the usual storm of protests (mostly screaming and walkouts) in the Lok Sabha.
The Opposition, lead by the BJP and the Left, demanded that the Government and the PM resign. The PM responded by pointing out that the claims in the cables could not be verified. He also noted that similar allegations were made in 2008 also and an investigation at the time had found nothing.
The event is probably not as shocking to the average voter as it seems to be to the politicians. After all, it would be hard to find a single Indian voter who believes that Indian politics can be conducted without the use of bribery and threats.
As the PM gloatingly pointed out, voters returned the Congress to power with a huge margin even though the bribery charges were made back then as well. Will they care now?
In Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives at Parliament House to attend the first day of the budget session of the parliament in New Delhi on February 21, 2011.
Text: Vinayak Hegde
For the week of March 11 to 18