Mamata Banerjee’s decision to remove Partha Chatterjee from her cabinet and party leadership positions was wise, but in political terms, she had little option. Hoarding illegal funds in flats is an easy task for law enforcement, according to the former Trinamool minister and his assistant, who have both been expelled from the party. Public perception is swayed even in a society where political brazenness about corruption is the norm.
As a shrewd politician who knew that Chatterjee had become a source of embarrassment and liability for the BJP, Banerjee was always ready to take on the Centre, its agencies, and the BJP. The BJP, desperate to reclaim its footing in Bengal after TMC thrashed it in the polls, would see this as a golden chance. Is it possible that the CM was not aware of the systemic corruption of a senior colleague? And the dismissal of Chatterjee may reignite concerns about the TMC’s alleged methods of extorting money from companies.
However, two generalisations may be made about Indian politics. Embarrassing bribery scandals are more likely to surface today than they were in the past. In Chatterjee’s instance, it was a central agency, but in Karnataka’s case, it was a victim who went public. Karnataka’s endemic “commission” system for approving government projects was exposed after a contractor’s complaints and subsequent death.
KS Eashwarappa had to resign as rural development minister. MVA was a mainstay in Maharashtra’s hot-boiling politics, accusing the government of targeting its members. But the reality remains that some of those ‘targets’ have been found to be guilty of financial misdeeds.
Another issue is the deplorable way in which essential services and infrastructure are being exploited for financial gain. The practice of selling teachers’ positions is prevalent. A few years ago, lawmakers in Haryana made news of this. Projects to improve the lives of Karnataka inhabitants have been held hostage because of the state’s insistence on a hefty “commission.” These are some of the most repulsive behaviours in the realm of political corruption. Leaders of the political party should be especially harsh on such comrades.