Arvind Kejriwal kept his date with controversy on Tuesday. The target was Robert Vadra again. This time he managed to put in a tight spot one of the largest real estate companies, DLF, and the Haryana government, which he alleged made a series of undue favours to the former in the past few years. The fresh revelations have left the Congress fuming even more.
Check the reactions: Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi demanded to know whether Kejriwal had given a “darkhadwast” (application) first before making the allegations. Renuka Chaudhary made the attack personal, saying Kejriwal had no moral standard and was stooping to new lows.
Incidentally, there was no response on substantive issues raised by the India Against Corruption (IAC) activist from the Congress. The fact that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had severely indicted DLF and the Haryana government, forcing the latter to reverse its order changing the land use of a 30-acre land in Gurgaon from hospital to SEZ did not matter to them. This land was handed over to the DLF.
The high court ruling, as quoted by Kejriwal, was clearly scathing against those concerned: “The aforesaid facts alone are enough to establish a nexus between M/S DLF Limited and the government to grab property in question.”
As it transpires, the issue is no longer a deal between the two private parties, howsoever hard the Congress may try to prove otherwise. With the son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi and husband of Priyanka Gandhi under fire on charges of misappropriation of wealth, the Congress faces a grave crisis of credibility. And also, now that the unwritten code among political parties to keep a distance launching personal attacks on the Gandhi family has been breached, the party expects more acrimonious charges now.
The problem for the Congress is manifold. First, the corruption issue is back on track to haunt the Congress after a temporary respite. It had managed to get some positive headlines after it announced big bang reforms. Second, Mayawati is now looking at early parliamentary elections and has put the UPA government on notice. Even if she does not withdraw her “outside support” from the government, she will put it on case to case probation. If she takes a tough position, Mulayam Singh Yadav, the other lifeline of the UPA, can’t afford be seen going soft on the Manmohan Singh government.
Third, the increased turbulence in New Delhi’s power corridors comes ahead of the two crucial assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh where it is pitted in a straight fight against the BJP. Naredra Modi already has upped the ante against Sonia Gandhi.
Fourth, this also comes at a time when Rahul Gandhi was to be formally elevated to the Number Two position in the Congress. Will this be the best time for the heir apparent to be in that position? Same applies for the proposed Union Cabinet reshuffle. It has already been postponed. There are question marks over the timing, if at all it is going to take place any time soon.
Fifth, lately the government had displayed an unprecedented sense of resistance and went on a reform overdrive after the BJP forced a washout of the Monsoon session of Parliament. Though the Finance Minister had promised more reforms it looks difficult given the unfolding events. After Kejriwal’s damning allegations, the government would be more in the damage control mode than on governance.
It’s not only Vadra, the party is worried about Priyanka too. The vast mass of party leaders and workers consider her to be “the weapon of last resort” should Rahul fail.