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Why the BJP forgot a Rs 3.4 lakh crore scam in Rajasthan

Arvind Kejriwal has been rightly pilloried for forgetting to act on his allegations of corruption against Sheila Dixit by the BJP. Here is another case of amnesia afflicting a party soon after coming to power. The Rajasthan BJP has had a Rs 3,40,000,0000000 memory loss over corruption. What was a Rs 3.4 lakh crore scam for it before the Vidhan Sabha election has now become a zero-loss legitimate deal for it. And what exactly has changed in the past four months? Only the party in power and the chief minister.

In the run up to the Assembly election, the BJP had issued a ‘Black Paper’ on graft under Ashok Gehlot’s government. Apart from the usual punches at Robert Vadra, whose case we will discuss later, the biggest allegation against Gehlot was that his government had granted mining lease to a company considered close to the Congress.

 Why the BJP forgot a Rs 3.4 lakh crore scam in Rajasthan

Vasundhara Raje Scindia. Agencies.

“The lease granted for mining minerals in the Aravalli hills is against Supreme Court orders. This is a Rs 3.4 lakh crore scam,” the BJP alleged.
But the view from the chief minister’s room has changed now. In an affidavit filed before the High Court on Wednesday, the government justified the lease and argued that it should not be cancelled. It said complaints against the lease were found to be incorrect.

The BJP’s zero-loss theory has allowed the Congress to attack Raje. “Her promises, policies, allegations and ideas have something in common: they are all lies,” a Congress spokesperson said. Others, like the AAP, are pointing at ‘collusion’ between the two parties.
The BJP’s about turn is typical of the politics practiced by the two national parties in Rajasthan. As a thumb rule, they never practice in power what they preach in opposition.

Before 2008, Gehlot had claimed that he would probe ‘serious charges’ of corruption against Vasundhara Raje on coming to power. During his five years in the hot seat, he continued to make lots of noise but didn’t act. Similarly, the BJP had made serious allegations against Gehlot, his family and friends. “Gehlot, Munot, Kothari (two prominent businessmen of Rajasthan),” was Raje’s pet refrain as opposition leader. She hasn’t uttered the line even once after becoming the CM.

Another classic example of the BJP’s double-speak on corruption is the case of Vadra. Since forming the government, the BJP has shoved the Vadra case into cold storage. Some of its leaders keep bringing it out once in a while for electoral gains but concrete action on the charges has not been taken.

A few months ago, some BJP leaders, including Raje’s close aide Bhupendra Yadav, had sought an enquiry into the Vadra deals. Their demand for a probe, incidentally, coincided similar threats by the Congress to investigate Gujarat’s snoopgate. Since then the Raje government has done nothing except leaking information to the media.

Is the BJP really serious on corruption? Are its pre-poll utterances just vote-grabbing slogans? Is there a difference between the Congress and the BJP? Here is yet another example to seal the argument. While in opposition, Raje had opposed the Rajasthan government’s plan for setting up a refinery in Barmer. It had alleged that Congress leaders of Barmer had bought huge chunks of land from farmers on the basis of advance information on the location of the refinery.

Did the BJP government scrap the project after winning the election? On the contrary in the interim budget, it made financial provisions for the refinery. And what about the land grab charges? The biggest Congress leader of the area where the refinery was to be set up, the then Congress MLA, is now the BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Barmer.

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Updated Date: Apr 04, 2014 12:10:51 IST