Mid-way through the nine-phase parliamentary elections in India, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has declared a war on corruption and vowed to cleanse the Indian political system of the taint of criminalisation.
Speaking at a rally in Etah in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state whose population exceeds that of Britain, France and Germany put together, Modi, who is widely projected to be the next prime minister of India, thundered that if he comes to power he will not hesitate to punish the corrupt cutting across the political spectrum, including those from his own party.
“We must remove criminalisation of politics, and merely giving lectures won’t help,” said Modi, who has challenged the ruling dispensation with his core platform of fast-track development and clean governance.
“I am determined that after the elections are over, whosoever is elected from any political colour, and whichever candidates have cases registered against them, they will be sorted out and a separate list will be made. And, we will ask the Supreme Court to finish off their cases within a year, and with this process, the criminalisation of politics can be cleansed. If I do not take such steps, then, this will continue,” Modi said.
Promising clean and decisive governance, Modi predicted a complete rout of the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the BSP in UP.
“I was fortunate to work in Uttar Pradesh before, but brothers and sisters, I had said after the election dates were announced, that the current situation is such that the tornado has turned into a tsunami, and the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress won’t be saved this time.”
“Those who were involved in looting the country, will be punished by the country. In all the 232 seats where polls have been completed they have said goodbye to the Congress Government at the centre. But those who are yet to vote in the remaining phases, they need to build a strong government,” Modi said.
Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to the 543-member Indian parliament. The BJP, India’s chief opposition party, is hoping to win 50 seats from the state, which holds the key to who gets to rule India.
Against this backdrop, Modi exhorted the people of Uttar Pradesh to vote for the BJP to ensure a strong government at the centre and punish the mother-son duo –- an all-too-obvious reference to Sonia Gandhi, the ruling UPA’s chair and her son Rahul Gandhi, the Congress’ prime ministerial hopeful – for plundering the nation.
“The mother-son duo government in 2009 had said that they will give jobs to ten crore people, but has it been realized. Will you still believe such people? Neither have they given any estimate of the amount of work they have done, nor an estimate of their corruption, while they were in power. They have looted the money which belonged to the people, I will ensure that I will bring all the pennies back.”
“Without Uttar Pradesh’s contribution, a strong government cannot be formed at the centre,” Modi underlined.
Rhetoric and Reality
Corruption is easily the pet issue of most political parties in the 2014 parliamentary elections in India. The ruling UPA has been accused of massive corruption in a spate of scams, which has allegedly defrauded the national exchequer of billions of rupees. The popular anger against the corruption-ridden system, the faltering economy and an indecisive leadership has fuelled the opposition’s campaign and has spawned a new development-centric politics.
In a country where more than 500 million people are young and restless to script a new life and destiny for themselves and their country, the new government in India, which is formed after the results of the elections are declared on May 16, will have to work doubly hard to deliver on its promise of clean governance, economic recovery and swift development. Otherwise, going by the surging curve of popular aspirations, the new regime, too, will suffer the revenge of the betrayed people of India.
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