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  Opinion   Edit  19 Apr 2024  AA Edit | INDIA bloc leaders need to stop targeting each other

AA Edit | INDIA bloc leaders need to stop targeting each other

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 19, 2024, 11:40 pm IST
Updated : Apr 19, 2024, 11:40 pm IST

Opposition Parties in INDIA Bloc Highlight Misuse of Enforcement Agencies, Rahul Gandhi's Statement Sparks Controversy

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses the gathering during an election rally ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, in Kolar district. (PTI Photo)
 Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses the gathering during an election rally ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, in Kolar district. (PTI Photo)

The misuse of Central agencies — the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation and income tax department — has been a point of grave concern for the Opposition. Almost every party in the INDIA bloc has been flagging this issue repeatedly in rallies and public statements.  A chief minister whose party is a partner in INDIA was forced to resign before his arrest by the ED while a sitting chief minister from the same coalition has been put in jail by the same.

It cannot be denied either that the ED, mandated as it is with investigating money laundering, takes the lead even in corruption cases. The defendants find it difficult to get bail under the draconian provisions of the 2002 Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Even if the courts question the maintainability of the prosecution’s case, they find it hard to grant it, which results in leaders languishing in jail for weeks, months and years.

However, one is still hard pressed to find the rationale behind Congressman Rahul Gandhi’s statement (rant?) against the Kerala CM as to how come he has never been questioned or arrested by these law enforcement bodies.

That Mr Gandhi is wrong is only one part of the story, because even if till date no investigating agency has listed Mr Pinarayi Vijayan as an accused or even a witness in a case so that he can be questioned or arrested, his former private secretary, a senior IAS officer arrested for his proximity to some of the accused in a case of gold smuggling through Thiruvananthapuram airport, was alleged to have been pressured to name him.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) Mr Gandhi’s party is leading in Kerala is pitted against Mr Vijayan’s CPI(M) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) it helms. Yet all constituents of both fronts are partners in the INDIA bloc. While it may be inevitable that he would compete with the LDF in Kerala, this insinuation from him is thus a low blow bordering on the desperate. It is unbecoming of a good leader.

Not to allude to how absurd of him it was to suggest that the Central agencies have “spared” him as his party has a deal with the BJP. The Left Front in India has always had a spotless record on the subject of corruption.

With his antics Mr Gandhi has only undermined the very cohesion of the Opposition platform that his party is actually heading and armed the NDA with morale and ammunition. It can now, in turn, call INDIA out for crying wolf when its complaints about the misuse of ED and other agencies are legitimate.

The Congress in Delhi which was earlier at the forefront of the agitation against ED hanky-panky in the Delhi excise policy investigation has since backtracked. It is taking a similar position in Kerala as well. Yet, it is still complaining that the ED and other Central agencies including the I-T department are unjustified in their pursuit of cases against its own leaders.

Such a double standard on its part is poor show by the ‘grand old party’. Not to mention terrible leadership as it sows seeds of mistrust amongst bloc partners.

Tags: india alliance, aa edit, 2024 lok sabha elections