On September 30, RJD
chief Lalu Prasad Yadav
was convicted by the Special CBI court in the over Rs 900 crore fodder scam and sent to Birsa Munda Jail, Ranchi, Jharkhand
, the same day. The judicial process took 17 long years to bring Lalu Prasad Yadav to justice. The CBI court will announce the quantum of sentence today (October 3).
But one thing is clear: Lalu Yadav will remain in jail for a minimum period of three years in case the higher court rejects his appeal against the conviction. Lalu Yadav’s son Tejasvi Yadav told reporters after the judgment was delivered that his father will challenge the judgment as “he is innocent”.
The response to the long-awaited conviction of Lalu Yadav from the general public and various political parties was along expected lines. The general public welcomed the verdict, while most political parties said the law took its own course and nobody is above law. The BJP hailed the conviction and said it would help check corrupt elements in the system and promote probity in public life. Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley called it a “watershed moment”.
Congress spokespersons and ministers, without exception, said the party “does not comment” on judicial processes and that they had nothing to say about the conviction. They tried to fool the politically conscious and awakened nation by saying shamelessly that Congress “doesn’t interfere” in judicial processes, though they surely aware that Congress governments under Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi
and Manmohan Singh made a mockery of the justice system by amending and murdering the Constitution and taking the Ordinance route to communalise the polity and society and nullify various landmark court judgments, including the Allahabad High Court
verdict that unseated Indira Gandhi in 1975, the 1985 Supreme Court verdict that upheld the maintenance lawsuit of poor Shah Bano during the regime of Rajiv Gandhi and the July 10, 2013 Supreme Court judgment that barred convicted lawmakers from continuing in Parliament and state assemblies and from contesting elections if convicted for two years and more.
However, it the political guru of Sonia Gandhi
’s incapable, uninspiring and controversial son Rahul Gandhi
, the vice president of the Congress, who took an independent line from other party leaders. Digvijay Singh bemoaned the arrest of Lalu Yadav and shamelessly said deemed his conviction as the outcome of a “conspiracy”.
Who conspired against the RJD chief who had remained loyal to the Congress and defended the corrupt and anti-democratic UPA Government
to the hilt? Did the Government of Jharkhand, of which the Congress and RJD are important constituents, manipulate the CBI? Did the JDU Government in Bihar, which has become part of the fast-crumbling and hated UPA for all practical purposes, interfere and influence the Special CBI court? Or, did the Congress-led UPA, which is known for misusing the CBI, hatch a conspiracy against Lalu Yadav? The question of the governments in Jharkhand and Bihar influencing or manipulating the Ranchi-based Special CBI court doesn’t arise at all.
As for the Congress-led UPA Government, it did its best to protect the RJD chief and its own MP, Rashid Masud, who was involved in a scam over medical seat admissions. Indeed, the party was willing to put its little credibility at stake to save these persons, as can be seen from the actions of the UPA Government and the Congress after July 10. Congress spokespersons and ministers, without any exception, opposed the July 10 Supreme Court judgment and tried to mislead the nation by interpreting the historic decision as an interference in the working of the Government.
The UPA regime went to extent of filing a review petition before the Supreme Court, which on September 5 upheld its earlier judgment. A bench comprising Justices AK Patnaik and SJ Mukhopadhyaya said it was “not inclined” to grant a review of the court’s July 10 decision that struck down a provision in the Representation of the People Act (RPA) allowing lawmakers to continue in office for three months even after being convicted.
The Congress Core Group comprising party president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
, ministers P Chidambaram, Sushil Kumar Shinde, AK Anthony, and political secretary Ahmed Patel, had discussed the implications of the judgment on the stability of the regime on September 20m and approved the Ordinance before putting it on the Cabinet agenda.
The Union Cabinet met on September 25 under the chairmanship of the pliable Prime Minister, who heads the most corrupt government and is very appreciative of Lalu Yadav, and cleared the Ordinance. It was forwarded to President Pranab Mukherjee
to sign so that it could be quickly promulgated. It was the Congress and the UPA’s last ditch effort to protect the RJD chief, an unholy attempt that was opposed tooth and nail by the BJP.
That is why a BJP delegation consisting of former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani and Leaders of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, rushed to the President on September 26 and urged him not to sign the proposed Ordinance. It was fairly apparent that President Mukherjee was in accord with the BJP’s stand and that he raised questions over the timing and need for the Ordinance.
President Mukherjee had called Home Minister SK Shinde, Law Minister Kapil Sibal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath the same day and virtually expressed his unwillingness to approve the controversial Ordinance and promulgate it before September 30, the day the Special CBI court was to deliver its judgment in the fodder scam involving over 40 politicians, including former Chief Ministers Lalu Yadav and Jagannath Mishra, and several bureaucrats. One report suggested that he proposed to discuss the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his return from the United States. All this should leave none in doubt that the Congress and the UPA Government conspired against the judicial system to protect the RJD chief.
So who, according to Digvijay Singh, hatched a conspiracy against Lalu Yadav, and even against the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of sycophants? The obvious answer is Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi did not say one word against the July 10 Supreme Court verdict and kept his mouth shut when the UPA Government filed a review petition, and again when the Lok Sabha discussed the issue and the Congress Core Group decided to follow the Ordinance route.
But suddenly on September 27, Rahul Gandhi made an unscheduled visit to the Press Club of India where Congress’ chief spokesperson Ajay Maken was defending the Ordinance route, and decisively thrashed the Ordinance: “Now, I will tell you (reporters) what is my opinion on the Ordinance. It is complete nonsense; it should be torn up and thrown away”. This outburst changed the whole situation with Congress ministers and spokespersons shamelessly made a complete U-turn saying what “Rahulji said was the party line”, thus undermining the office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet system of governance.
It is hardly necessary to point out that both the mother and the son and their advisors, who had felt the pulse of President Mukherjee, decided to ditch the Prime Minister and undermine his Cabinet in a desperate bid to save the Congress from further embarrassment. Political expediency compelled the mother-son team, who symbolise the corruption and evil of the regime, to dump their most dependable ally, Lalu Yadav, and cultivate the rank-opportunist Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, and project themselves as crusaders against corruption.