It has been over a week since the irrigation scam in Maharashtra. A week has gone by and no scams unearthed yet? Come on. This can’t be true. But one thing is for sure, the country can trust Kejriwal & co. not to disappoint when it comes to fulfilling their thirst for scams. Sensing this desire for frequent scam news, they have now slowly started to announce dates in advance when they intend to go public about scams. This is perfect. We certainly need a schedule so we can mark them on our calendars so as not to be left out of the excitement. While a schedule is welcome, just two announcements is a little underwhelming. It’s like a two-match T20 series. In any case, we’ll take what we can get. With Dhoni and his boys on a downward trend, we need this fresh injection of speculation and expectancy from time to time.
By now, you are probably thinking, “Oh well…cut out this cynicism, please!” It’s hard not to be cynical when you have an assembly line of scams but no sign of any action from the government. Instead of addressing the scams you have ministers of the UPA vowing to teach those who attempt to expose corruption a lesson.
The irrigation scam and the allegations against Mr. Vadra strike at the heart of a widely accepted practice in India — many in positions of power routinely exercise influence in return for unaccounted benefits. They often operate through their nearest kith and kin and the benefits can be to individuals or to political outfits or corporations, are all of the above. Most politicians groom their extended families to eventually enter politics. Very often, the early stages of grooming involve acting as “fixers.” These individuals remain below the radar for the most part until they get embroiled in a publicized scam of some sort. This role of “fixing” is a broad term encompassing a pretty diverse portfolio of services. Commonly offered services can range from routine school and college admissions, job appointments and transfers, new bank loans, write-off of old loans, film financing and distribution, etc. to more high stakes services like “encounter killings,” coerced land deals, and general “goondagiri”. All of these services are provided in return for some benefit or the other. This is the unwritten underlying system that has been in place for years and is widely practiced, no matter which party is in power.