Top ten unwritten laws of Indian politics

  1. Law of “big” money: Most politicians in power and their kith and kin make “big” money by exercising their power and influence to the fullest. Common areas of involvement include land deals, educational institutions, power projects, coal mining, cricket associations, etc. Where there is “big” money to be made, expect the involvement of one or more politicians. If you find none, you can rest assured that there is an invisible hand. Recently, Beni Prasad of the UPA rightly pointed this out when he said, “I believe that Salman Khurshid would never get involved in a scam of Rs 71 lakhs because it is a very small amount. Had it been Rs 71 crore, it would have been more plausible.”
  2. Law of families and personal lives: Families of politicians are off limits when it comes to exposing scams. In other words, the ruling party will not go after the immediate family members of opposition leaders and vice-versa — a well understood and accepted quid pro quo. Digvijay Singh sincerely refers to this as “political ethics.” Gadkari captures it brilliantly when he says, “Char kaam hum unke karte hain, char kaam woh hamara karte hain.” Personal lives of politicians are also off limits. Multiple wives, extra marital affairs, sexual favors are all ignored. If exposed for some reason, rehabilitation is often just around the corner.
  3. Law of legal process: Investigations and court cases almost never produce anything of significance because they simply take so long that they become irrelevant. e.g., the Sukh Ram telecom scandal which took over a decade, Lalu Yadav’s fodder scam, Mulayam’s DA scam, the all important Bofors deal, to name a few. Most importantly, people involved in the process of investigations and cases can be bribed, eliminated, or if nothing else, transferred (a la Ashok Khemka). Also, politicians almost never go to jail. The more visible they are, the less likely they are to go to jail, no matter what the case against them might be. “I am open to any investigation. If found guilty I will quit politics.” Not surprisingly, starting with our erstwhile PM, this is the mantra of Indian politics.
  4. Law of enforced silence: People in power, especially politicians, prefer that you take them to court rather than spew allegations at them in the media. When there are allegations, the standard counter is to say, “If you have enough evidence, why not go to court? Why indulge in a trial by media?” The reality is that if you go to court, then the matter becomes “subjudice.” A convenient shield that virtually buries the issue for eternity.

Click here to read the rest of the article in The Economic Times

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