Politics makes for strange bedfellows. Sleeping with the enemy is not an unknown trait, when it comes to our politicians. Affiliations, friendships and associations are often seamless and well nigh unseen. Who would ever have thought that Nitin Gadkari would be accused of having business ties with the NCP?
Anjali Damania, an RTI activist blew the whistle on Nitin Gadkari a few days ago alleging that he had refused to speak up against NCP’s irregularities in the massive irrigation scam centering around Ajit Pawar, that has rocked Maharashtra. We saw yet another example of how politicians regardless of party affiliations come together especially when it comes to cornering public money.
She said that she had met Gadkari to help her in her fight against the irrigation scam, but he flatly refused to do so and asked her to back off. Damania also alleged that Gadkari had tried to prevent BJP leader, Kirit Somaiya from filing a PIL in the huge scam that is now being labeled as Maharshtra’s ‘Watergate’. She claimed that she was shocked to learn of Gadkari’s business ties with NCP leaders and wrote to him expressing her disappointment. A red-faced Gadkari sent her a legal notice, but Damania remains unfazed and has vowed to take him on legally.
Surely, this is not the first time we have heard of politics bringing sworn enemies together. Earlier this year, Mulayam and the Congress fought a bitterly contested election in UP in which the SP emerged triumphant. But Mulayam is a precious asset as far as the UPA is concerned. He is opposed to FDI in retail, but will not pull the plug on UPA. He knows how to scratch the UPA’s back and get his own scratched by them. Laloo Yadav is another example of an ‘opposition’ leader who is indispensable to the UPA and is believed to get his own pound of flesh.
We saw how our own Chandrababu Naidu ganged up with the Congress against the YSRCP and YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in the June by-polls. Unfortunately, for Naidu, his cozying up to the Congress didn’t yield any electoral dividends. Now, he hopes his marathon walk will take him somewhere.
Privately, one often gets to hear stories doing the rounds about business relations between seemingly inimical political forces at the local level. Obviously, what goes on at the local level extends to state and national politics, as well. From the way things are, we will keep hearing stories of Gadkaris and Pawars for many more years.