The revelation of WikiLeaks has once again put the UPA government in a fix. The UPA-government was blamed for bribing MPs to survive no-confidence motion on the nuclear deal in 2008. In a proof, the three MPs of BJP waved chests of rupees in Parliament, which was aired by all TV channels. Although, a committee of MPs was constituted in order to probe the cash-for-vote issue, they failed to reach any conclusion and finally it ended with the Lok Sabha election. Recently, WikiLeaks revealed that Nachiketa Kapur, an aide of Congress MP Satish Sharma, managed to collect money for the cash-for-vote scam. According to the revelation, Kapur showed American diplomat two chastes of money, telling him votes could be easily purchased with the help of Rs50-60 crore. The names of Indian origin American hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal and Ranjan Bhattacharya, step son-in law of Atal Bihari Baypayee, were also dragged in the issue of horse trading. According to WikiLeaks, Chatwal was trying to break away MPs of Akali Dal and Bhattacharya wanted to divide the BJP MPs.

It is not surprising that the government rubbished the allegations leveled by the Opposition. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, this matter is concerned with the 14th Lok Sabha, which has no business with the present term. The Prime Minster said he was unaware of the cash-for-vote issue and he did not have any role with the issue. He termed the WikiLeaks revelation a fanciful proposition. Despite this, no one can deny that there could be nothing without money in the Indian politics. This is not the first time that MPs have been leveled allegation of getting bribed. MPs have already faced the allegations of asking money for raising questions in the Houses and asking commission for utilization of the MPs fund. The WikiLeaks revelation confirms that the Indian politics has sunk into the quagmire of corruption.

It is certain that the Opposition’s demand for resignation of the Prime Minister and creating pandemonium in the Parliament will not have any consequence on the government. It is also clear that there will not be any investigation into the WikiLeaks revelation. The whole countries of the world has rejected the revelations of the site mentioning them being baseless estimation of the American diplomats. It is easier to rebuff the revelations of WikiLeaks, but one cannot hide the fact that the roles of corrupt elements in the Indian politics are getting prominent. The UPA-II government is chiefly embattled with corruption. The Congress, however, is leading its Central dispensation by hook or by crook and may face no any danger, but common people harbor that they have not reached the pinnacle of prosperity where they should have been in the wake of corruption. It is known to all that corruption makes the poor poorer and wastes the money being spent on the social functions, to which the government per se accepts. Once Rajiv Gandhi said that for a Re 1 only 10 paise is properly utilized, and the rest goes to the pockets of corrupt elements. Despite this, no government made an effort to bridle corruption effectively. There is a dearth of such rules which could facilitate for a concrete action against corrupt elements sitting at the helm.

Manmohan Singh, known for his clean image, wants to free the nation from corruption, but the issue has become so complex that he fails to do it, despite his keenness. He assumes it that the potent reason of political corruption is the huge expenditure of money in elections, but it is intriguing that why his government always shies away from the electoral reform. His government in previous regime enabled people to fight against corruption by making Right to Information Act, but in the present tenure he doesn’t seem to be able to make such rules with which noose around politicians could be tightened. However, the preparation for passing the Lokpal Bill is on, but the contour of the Bill is disappointing. Several NGOs termed the proposed Bill half-baked and a contract of shielding corrupt leaders.

If the UPA government is keen on removing corruption, it will have to make an efficient Lokpall Bill so that no corrupt leader could make a bid to get away with and secondly, the political parties should be compelled to make public of their income and expenditure. If Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi want to save their image, they should take bold steps to rein in corruption without playing any political gimmick. It is worth mentioning that the corruption has dented India’s image on international arena. It is necessary to have constant investment of foreign capitals for whole economic growth of the country. There are many countries which have made such rules which debarred corrupt companies from investing. Although, the government of India had signed the anti-corruption proposal on December 2005, which was presented in October 2003 on the behalf of the UN, but the Centre could not work upon in this regard. 

If the Congress-led Central government is in illusion that people will forget string of corruption coming day after day till Lok Sabha election, it is wrong. The Congress could meet defeat in the forthcoming Assembly election as well as Lok Sabha polls owing to its tarnished image beaten with corruption. Now, the time has come that Prime Minister, being cautious for his clean image, should control the situation, not to delay implementing the steps he wants to take to remove corruption.             

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on March 20, 2010 translated by the English Editorial)