Some time back I had written… 14 gaffes, misses and failures of Sushilkumar Shinde. One would have thought all this was enough for a lifetime, but there’s simply no stopping the irrepressible Union Home Minister.
Here are 14 more …
1. Coalgate favouritism: In 2007 as Union Power Minister, he had written an official letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking that a particular private energy firm be favoured to pick up a coal block in the State of Odisha.
In any other country this may have been enough to finish off a political career, but both Shinde and Manmohan have been unfazed by Coalgate.
2. Zero loss in Adarsh? While the Adarsh scam has been raging for years, Shinde grandly declared that there was no scam in the first place. He reasoned that there could be no impropriety as that land belonged to the State government and there was no reservation vis a vis Kargil in the first place!
At par with Kapil Sibal’s “Zero Loss” statement in the 2G scam? Interestingly, a social activist alleged that Shinde had a benami flat in Adarsh and filed a case in the High Court accordingly.
3. The Dawood link: Former Union Home Secretary RK Singh alleged that Shinde stopped the Delhi Police from interrogating a businessman with ties with criminal Dawood Ibrahim in the IPL scam.
A PIL was also filed in the Supreme Court to that affect, but Shinde heaved a sigh of relief when the court didn’t accept it. Shinde also dismissed the charge saying that Singh was now with the BJP.
4. Going after Dawood: At the beginning of 2014, Shinde grandly declared that the US was helping India in going after Dawood who was in Pakistan.
However officials denied that they knew that Dawood was in Pakistan and that the US was helping them! Chhota Shakeel laughed at this and told Shinde: Lage Raho Munnabhai!
5. Patna blasts and Rajjo: When the Patna blasts took place, people would have expected the Union Home Minister to rush to the Bihar capital or spend his time in office looking into the issue.
However soon after he decided to attend the music launch of Rajjo, starring Kangana Ranaut. Union Minister Salman Khurshid defended him saying that Shinde had a life beyond the Patna blasts.
6. Pawar should be PM: Shinde once said that NCP had been a victim of politics in New Delhi and he would be happy to see its chief Sharad Pawar as the Prime Minister of India.
This left a lot of red faces in the Congress as they have been trying to project party Vice President Rahul Gandhi as their potential PM.
7. Minority politics: Shinde issued an advisory to Chief Ministers of India asking them to ensure that Muslim youth are not detained wrongfully.
While this received a lot of flak, the strongest attack came from BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi who wrote to the Prime Minister to take action against Shinde. BJP leader Arun Jaitley called this move unconstitutional.
8. Snoopgate haste: The Congress was trying desperately to fix Modi in the Snoopgate probe and on January 10 this year, Shinde grandly declared that the government would appoint a judge to head the commission in “a day or two”.
Well it’s been “a month or two” and still there are no signs of a head.
9. “Mad” Kejriwal: While everyone was tired of former Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s dharna antics and he was the butt of jokes in cyberspace, one would have expected a Union Minister to speak with some grace.
While lamenting that he had to cancel police leaves, he referred to Kejriwal in Marathi as “yeda mukhya mantri” or “mad Chief Minister” at a public function.
10. Kejriwal dharna goof-up? Shinde's frustration may have to do with the flak he received from his own party. Reports said that his party was upset that he let Kejriwal off the hook lightly with one report saying that even Rahul was upset.
11. Top secret security: How can you give a Chief Minister security without his knowledge? You can if you’re Super Shinde.
While Kejriwal as CM said he did not get top security, Shinde declared that they were giving it to him without his knowledge!
12. Crushing the media: Shinde chose a Youth Congress event to launch a blistering attack against the electronic media.
Lamenting certain sections which were “anti-Congress”, he threatened to crush it, bringing to attention that he had the country’s intelligence agencies under him.
13. Crushing the social media: Used to regularly putting his foot in his mouth and clarifying and denying the same, Shinde was at it again.
This time he said that he was in fact referring to social media! The poor man still doesn’t realize that social media is much more brutal than the mainstream media!
14. Regular foot in the mouth: Of course gaffes are a regular part of Shinde's life.
Like Ishrat Jahan was killed in 2004 and Shinde became Home Minister in 2012. In 2013 when he was asked whether Ishrat was a terrorist, he said, “Woh to main malumaat le raha hoon abhi.” (I am still trying to get information)"
At another time he told that Modi was “no challenge” for the Congress.
Then once he told Kejriwal to learn coalition politics from Manmohan! With his luck, Shinde could make PM one day and do 14 more gaffes!
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogshere.