It’s been more than a fortnight since the revelations around acts of impropriety by the external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, the Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje Scindia and her MP son Dushyant Singh were reported.
The opposition has been demanding the resignations of these three senior BJP leaders, while the ruling BJP has been utterly baffled as to what stance it needed to take on their tainted leaders.
Allegations against Sushma, Raje and Dushyant came days after the Aam Aadmi Party leader and the law minister in Delhi government, Jitender Singh Tomar was arrested in fake degree controversy.
Like the BJP in present circumstances, the AAP too had resisted the calls to sack Tomar when the allegations against his educational qualification was first brought to light. Tomar had to resign only after his arrest.
In the last few days, we’ve also had new cases of fake degrees against two Maharashtra’s BJP ministers and one Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani gaining momentum. Once again the opposition parties have begun sharpening their knives against these tainted leaders belonging to the rival party.
But the question is; will they resign on moral grounds or is there anything called morality in Indian politics. We take a look at Britain, whose politics has had quite a profound influence on our political system, as to how they reacted when their politicians were placed in similar quandary. Drawing this parallel will help you understand the deterioration in Indian political system. Not just Sushma, Raje and series of other leaders, you also need to remember countless other politicians of all political hue including the rape accused Nihalchand in Narendra Modi’s cabinet in mind when you read the stories below.
We’ve been privy to many conversations/innuendos/stories surrounding businessman Gautam Adanai’s proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Adani accompanying the PM to all his foreign trips has been a subject of constant scrutiny on social media.
In October 2011, British Defence Secretary (Minister) Liam Fox resigned after a week of pressure over his working relationship with lobbyist friend and self-styled adviser Adam Werritty. He had to step down amidst allegations that he broke the ministerial code.
The pressure began to mount on Fox after it emerged that Werritty, a lobbyist, had met him on 18 foreign trips despite having no official role.
Werritty, a former flatmate of Fox and the best man at his wedding, also allegedly handed out business cards suggesting he was his adviser and was present at meetings the Defence Secretary had with military figures, diplomats and defence contractors.
Questions were also raised about who paid for Mr Werritty’s business activities and whether he had personally benefited from his frequent access to the defence secretary.
The most powerful minister in Tony Blair’s cabinet, David Blunkett had to quit as home secretary in 2004 after an e-mail emerged showing a visa application for his ex-lover’s nanny had been fast-tracked.
The e-mail reportedly said “no favours but slightly quicker”. Mr Blunkett said he had not been aware of its contents and insisted he had done nothing wrong. But he said questions about his honesty had damaged the government.
An inquiry into the nanny allegations established that there indeed had been an exchange of e-mails about the visa application between Blunkett’s office and immigration officials. Though, Blunkett said, “I have always been honest about my recollection of events.”
In the so-called Lalitgate scandal, the external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is accused of more serious charges. Blunket’s letter to immigration officials may have been improper use of his designation, but it wasn’t a crime.
Swaraj is accused of helping a man who was technically a criminal as he was wanted in money laundering cases while his passport remained revoked. Unlike Swaraj, neither Blunkett nor any members of the Labour Party justified their home secretary’s action arguing it was done on ‘humanitarian ground.’
David Laws made history in 2010 when he became the shortest serving Cabinet member in modern British political history.
The Liberal Democrat MP served as Chief Secretary to Treasury for just 16 days before the expenses scandal broke and he decided to resign.
Laws, the minister tasked with cutting public spending in the aftermath of biting recession, quit after it was revealed that he had directed more than £40,000 of taxpayers’ money to his secret gay lover.
Up until this revelation came, there was very little public knowledge about Laws’ sexuality. First being caught in the expense scandal then being found out about his sexuality, Laws felt it was impossible for him to keep holding a responsible government position.
Announcing his decision to stand down from the Cabinet, the Liberal Democrat MP said: ‘I do not see how I can carry out my crucial work on the Budget and spending review while I have to deal with the private and public implications of recent revelations.
Once again, no Lib Dem spokespersons had the courage to come on TV channels in defence of their leader. Laws didn’t get any relief on humanitarian ground either. He felt it was morally wrong for him to continue in the cabinet because his sexuality had become public knowledge. We have Nihalchand, who has allegations of serious sexual crimes against him, and yet it’s been a business as usual both for him and the Indian prime minister.
A government chief whip is quite an influential position, more than a state’s chief minister or an MP with a CM mother.
That’s precisely Andrew Mitchell’s role was in David Cameron’s first term as PM until he was shown the door quite unceremoniously. The incident which brought his downfall happens quite frequently everyday in India. Mitchell was trying to cycle out of 10 Downing Street, when a police official asked him to dismount from his bicycle and wheel it through a pedestrian exit.
Mitchell allegedly refused to comply and swore at the officers. The police log quoted Mitchell as saying, “Best you learn your f—— place…you don’t run this f—— government …you’re f—— plebs.”
Mitchell admitted swearing at officers when he told them: “I thought you guys were supposed to f***ing help us”.
However, he continued to strongly deny calling the police “plebs” or “morons” but accepted that he was no longer “able to fulfil my duties”. Mitchel had to go.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi’s was an amazing success story. She became the first British Muslim of Pakistani origin to become the chairperson of the ruling Conservative party in 2010. She was later given junior foreign minister’s portfolio.
In 2014, Israeli forces launched quite a brutal offensive in Gaza, which left more than 1,800 Palestinians and around 67 Israelis dead. The Israeli’s brutalities caused international outcry.
Lady Warsi called for action on Gaza via Twitter before her resignation. On 21 July, she Tweeted:“The killing of innocent civilians must stop. Need immediate ceasefire in #Gaza. Leadership required on both sides to stop this suffering.”
Three days later she again tweeted, “Can people stop trying to justify the killing of children. Whatever our politics there can never be justification, surely only regret #Gaza.”
Fed up by the her realization that the UK government was not an honest broker of peace in the Middle East crisis, she put in her papers.