Busting holy cows, Kejriwal style

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 31, 2012 14:27 hrs

Ever since the 2011 anti-corruption movement began in this country, a lot of holy cows have been taken head-on. Activist Arvind Kejriwal as usual has been at the centre of it all. A look at the holy cows that he and his teams (both Anna and Kejriwal) have exposed…

Holy Cow 1: Stability of a Government

The last majority government was in 1984-89. For more than 20 years, no single party has been able to get a majority of its own. First minority governments and then coalitions have been the order of the day after 1989.

In 1999, the NDA got a mandate because the people wanted stability. In 2009, the UPA got a similar mandate despite not doing that well. Most people were resigned to being able to do nothing to the Congress till 2014.

Then in August Kranti 2011, Team Anna, masterminded by Kejriwal, launched one of the biggest civil disobedience movement in the country. In 2012, this was carried forward by Team Kejriwal. Trying to destabilise a government just after it is 2 years into its 5 year-term is usually frowned upon.

The aim of the team is clear that the government has to be brought down, stability be damned. At first nobody believed it, but now many are sure that mid-term polls are inevitable. This is a precursor to the demand for Right To Reject.

Holy Cow 2: Manmohan Singh

Till now, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been seen as a clean man and none of the allegations stuck. Despite the cash-for-votes scam, Manmohan continued being called Mr Clean.

But this is the first time he has directly being attacked. His role as a man who understands financial matters and hence is guilty if he is clearing files is stressed upon. That applies to 2G, Coalgate and Reliance.

In fact in the latest press conference, Kejriwal talked of a certain section of the Prevention of Corruption Act which stated as a definition of corruption: If you misuse your position and grant benefits to a certain party, then you can be investigated for corruption.

Kejriwal alleged that Manmohan could be investigated on that count.

Holy Cow 3: Sonia Gandhi

The only person in India who is willing to make allegations against Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her family is Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy, but he is largely ignored by the mainstream media.
That all changed when Kejriwal focused on the land dealings of Sonia’s son-in-law Robert Vadra. It is funny that in terms of corruption issues, the few days around Kejriwal’s that particular press conference were the biggest attacks that Sonia has seen after entering politics.

Holy Cow 4: Kin of politicians

Vadra’s case also brought to sharp focus that politicians do not talk about the corruption of the families of rival politicians. That is how these families can quietly amass wealth without anyone noticing whether it is legal or illegal.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh shamelessly and proudly even accepted such a thing.

Then in the Reliance press conference, Team Kejriwal brought in the name of Ranjan Bhattacharya, son-in-law of former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee.

Holy Cow 5: The Opposition

Usually when a government has to be taken on or toppled, the entire Opposition sink their differences and get together. It happened in 1977, when Jayaprakash Narayan brought the entire Opposition together. Their differences came to the fore when the Janata Party came to power and collapsed mid-term.

1989 also saw the strange sight of the Right (BJP) and Left parties come together to support the Janata Dal.
Going by past logic, Anna, Kejriwal and the BJP would have come together and formed a grand alliance which may have been quite effective.

But for Kejriwal, if the government of the day is the enemy, then the Opposition is no holy cow either. He has taken on BJP President Nitin Gadkari and Vajpayee’s son-in-law. It is quite an audacious plan to take on all the political parties in one go.

Holy Cow 6: Corporates

The media by and large avoid taking on large corporates directly. Part has to do with advertisements and part has to do with the stakes that large corporates hold in media companies.

By taking on Mukesh Ambani and Reliance, Team Kejriwal has launched a new type of attack. While individual scams do come to light, this is the first time a large corporate house has been painted in such a light.

Again a one lakh crore Rupee figure was bandied about without direct bribery allegations. Team Kejriwal is questioning the very way that corporates are running India. Prashant Bhushan keeps talking of “Crony Capitalism”.

Holy Cow 7: The Nexus

Everyone knows that for any scam to take place, there’s usually a ruling party-Opposition-official-corporate nexus. But usually all the focus tends to focus on just one thing. Like the 2G scam was all blamed on former Telecom Minister A Raja. Forget the Congress, even the DMK was kept out of the scam as if Raja had acted alone.

Everyone keeps saying “Hamaam main sab nanga” (Everyone is naked in the bathroom), but Kejriwal is the first person who is focusing the harsh glare of the nation on this fact. He has pointed to the elephant in the room which everyone seems to be ignoring. He keeps repeatedly telling us: Everyone is equally guilty.

Kejriwal says that anyone who tries to take on this nexus, like former Petroleum Minister Jaipal Reddy, will be shown the door.
One must definitely congratulate Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant and Shanti Bhushan, Kiran Bedi and the rest of the team to take on so many holy cows in one go.

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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger.

He blogs at