The most endearing trait of an indian voter is his complete lack of expectations from his elected representatives.His tolerance of their perceived shenanigans is also unmatchable.It is perhaps this innate humility of the common man that exacts some public service out of our politicians and keeps their tomfoolery under check.
Netas might bicker on the policy issues and the consequent loss to the public exchequer ,but when it comes to petty personal corruption they generally follow the gentlemen’s agreement.
This pax Indiana that exists between the opposition ,the ruler and the ruled was disturbed when the “leader of the opposition’s(LOOP)” levelled some bizarre accusations against the beloved Chief minister(CM) of our state.
The LOOP alleged that a new watch adorning the wrist of the CM was worth Rupees 5 million.He further questioned if the CM has completely renounced his socialist past and embraced the feudal tendencies behoving his status as the head of the state .The CM ridiculed the LOOP’s claims and offered to sell him the watch for Rs.1 million,an offer which the latter promptly refused arguing he doesn’t deal in second hand goods.
The LOOP further embarrassed the CM by pegging the actual price of the “diamond -studded” Hublot time machine at more than Rs.7 million.An unfazed CM responded by calling the Loop a cheater, a liar and a fraud whose words should not be taken seriously.
The Cm further tried to salvage his position by declaring the watch in question was a gift,to which the Loop enquired if it has been declared as such in the annual Lokayukta report and income tax return.The Loop demanded the CM name his benefactor if there was one, and not take the state for a ride.
The political cauldron kept simmering for a week more before the CM finally revealed that a dubai based NRI surgeon was the ‘friend’ in question who gifted him the Hublot .The CM promised to pay customs duty on this costly watch,as another opposition party has written to the Enforcement Directorate to investigate the whole matter.The CM explained that since the watch was a personal gift from an old friend ,he could not have refused it and since the gift was made only in july 2015,he would declare it in the lok ayukta report and IT returns for the current year.He has also expressed his intention to give the watch away as state asset and keep it in the cabinet hall.The ever confident CM remained unfazed ,and seemed firmly in his saddle despite virtually admitting that several laws might have been contravened in the whole process.
The matter seemed as good as over ,when the Loop pulled a rabbit out of the CM’s Hublot ,giving a curious new twist to the tale .
Dubbing the watch as ‘stolen’ ,the Loop alleged it was actually gifted to the CM by a police officer who tried to sycophantically ingratiate himself to the leader of the state by this act.The Loop also claimed that three watches were stolen from the home of a capital-based doctor and the one gracing the hand of the CM is one of them. The said doctor ,after vanishing from the public scene for a day,reappeared and accepted that indeed three of his precious watches were stolen last year,but that the watch in question does not belong to him,although one of the watches that was stolen was of the same model .
The Loop is now demanding a CBI enquiry .Finding himself on slippery ground,the CM has gone on the offensive and raised the bogey of victimization ,arguing his backward class origins rankle in the eyes of his detractors and the opposition.
This political drama is far from over.The case of the CMs watch might never be solved,or even investigated but it has deepened the existing political faultlines and raised some very crucial legal and ethical questions ,the answers to which might be lost in the din and bustle of petty interest.The common man like me is more interested in knowing why wud anyone gift ,or buy such a costly watch in the first place !
Can the CM now claim from the rooftop,no corruption in my watch ?