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  (Edited Image Courtesy delhi.gov.in)
 
Now that #AAPWalksTheTalk twitter party is over, we can dish out some sobering thoughts for Aam Adami Party (AAP) Supremo-cum-Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his fans.
The anti-bribery jubilation also has an embedded message for a section of the mainstream media, which projected Mr. Kejriwal's  “live” sacking of Food Minister Asim Ahmad Khan as “unprecedented” and refrained from asking critical questions to CM.  
First fact first. Mr. Kejriwal is not the first Chief Minister/Prime Minister to sack a minister. In March this year, tainted Tamil Nadu Agriculture Minister S.S Krishnamoorthy was not only sacked from the Cabinet but also stripped of all AIADMK party posts. He was later sent to judicial custody too. (http://bit.ly/1QfU66s)
Certain CMs in different States have sacked ministers of dubious reputation without flaunting corruption charges as that might later be trashed by the courts. Even the so-called “weakest” Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had goaded Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan of the alleged ‘jayanthi tax’ fame resign from UPA Cabinet in December 2013.
Way back in August 1948, PM Jawahar Lal Nehru had dropped (sacked according to one version) India's first Finance Minister R.K. Shanmukham Chetty for allegedly being soft towards certain business houses in pursuing taxation cases against them. Later, Mr. Nehru kept the finance portfolio with himself for about a month. (http://bit.ly/1jV9uem & http://bit.ly/1L5D61x)
If these instances appear weak in theatrics which is Kejriwal’s trademark, let me take him and AAP's teenyboppers to a unique case of Prime Minister sacking Deputy Prime Minister on grave charges of misconduct: Late Mr. V.P. Singh had sacked the No.2 man, Late Chaudhary Devi Lal, in the National Front Government in August 1990.
At that time, private TV news channels had not cropped up. There was obviously no online social media. Mr. Singh had to thus sack Mr.Lal through an official release. And yet Mr. Singh's sacking of his Deputy PM was more credible and dramatic than Mr. Kejriwal's action.
PM had slapped three charges on Mr. Lal: 1) Quoting a forged letter in an interview with a weekly magazine. The letter was allegedly written by Mr. Singh in November 1987 to the President of India when he was a minister in Rajiv Gandhi Government, levelling charges against the then cabinet colleagues. 2) In the interview, Mr. Lal made serious, unsubstantiated allegations against his Cabinet colleagues. 3) He also made derogatory remarks against PM in the interview.
In a letter addressed to Mr. Lal on 1st August 1990, Mr. Singh stated: “For these acts of yours, of violations of all cannons of collective responsibility of the Cabinet, I have recommended to the President of India to drop you from the Council of Ministers.”
Consider now the second fact. In this case, Mr. Singh had given an opportunity to Mr. Lal to defend himself on these charges through a letter dated 29th July 1990. Mr. Lal failed to answer razor-sharp queries on the forged letter. Nor did he provide evidence to substantiate allegations against other ministers. 
Mr. Kejriwal, on other hand, did not give an opportunity to Mr Khan to reply to the alleged case of bribery, which is based on a recorded telephonic conversation. This is evident from his initial reaction immediately after a Press Conference. A daily quoted Mr. Khan as saying: “I have not heard the recording and am in a state of shock. The party said that till the inquiry is on, I should not be in office.”
The very next day, Mr. Khan trashed Kejriwal's charges at a Press conference. He attributed his sacking to AAP’s internal politics and an attempt to save some big gun within the party. He reportedly said: “I am the sacrificial goat”. He also resolved to expose the conspiracy against him in a few days.
In playing a taped conversation in which Mr. Khan is allegedly seeking bribes at the Press Conference, Mr. Kejriwal not only showed contempt for the Law but also rationalized media lynching of suspects.
It is here pertinent to quote what the then Chairman of Law Commission Justice M. Jagannadha Rao, stated in its 200th report captioned ‘Trial by Media: Free Speech Vs. Fair Trial Under Criminal Procedure (Amendments to the Contempt of Court Act, 1971)’ submitted in August 2006.
Mr. Rao observed: “According to our law, a suspect/accused is entitled to a fair procedure and is presumed to be innocent till proved guilty in a Court of law. None can be allowed to prejudge or prejudice his case by the time it goes to trial.”
If Mr. Khan drags Kejriwal Government to the court and wins a defamation suit, would Mr. Kejriwal resign as CM? Was this question raised in the feted Press conference?
Third, if Mr. Kejriwal is sincere in battling corruption at top echelons of power, why has he not made public all the files on corruption complaints in which some of his ministers are suspects, the latest case being that of alleged nepotism towards a firm owned by a kin of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia? Any clean head of a government would have no hesitation in suo moto disclosure of all files on all commercial deals. After all, transparency is the key to prevention of bribery. 
Why has Mr. Kejriwal left the post of anti corruption ombudsman, Lokayukta, vacant for several months? Why has he dragged his feet over Jan Lokpal bill? Why has he not referred to CBI several cases of irregularities that happened during the previous Congress regime at Delhi? And what about the donations scam that rocked AAP on the eve of Delhi Assembly elections? 
Fourth, Kejriwal deserves praise for outsmarting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in anti-corruption theatrics. It remains to be seen whether Mr. Modi/BJP would accept Kejriwal’s gauntlet and take decisive political steps in Lalitgate, VyapamGate, Rajasthan mining scam, etc. 
 
Published by http://nareshminochapolity.blogspot.in on 11th October 2015
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