Thursday, October 11, 2012





After over 48 hours of panic over the allegations levelled by Shri Arvind Kejriwal of India Against Corruption (IAC) against Shri Robert Vadra, the husband of Ms.Priyanka Gandhi and the son-in-law of Mrs.Sonia Gandi, the President of the Congress, the Congress has cooled down and worked out a strategy of tiring out   the IAC in general and Shri Kejriwal in particular.

2. It is reported that the initial panic was triggered by Mrs.Sonia Gandhi herself which led to the unwise intervention of a number of senior Ministers in support of Shri Vadra and the tactless remarks of Shri Vadra in his FB.

3. After this initial spectacle of chicken-like panic, Ms.Priyanka Gandhi, who is concerned over the likely impact of the allegations and the subsequent crisis management on the credibility and political future of the family and the Congress, reportedly stepped in to calm down the panic.

4.A new set of crisis management advisers not haunted by memories of the old Bofors controversy against Rajiv Gandhi, took advantage of certain evolving characteristics of L’Affaire Vadra. Firstly, there has been no smoking gun so far. Secondly, there has been no paper trail. Thirdly, Shri Vadra’s alleged involvement was with a listed company and not with shady individual businessmen, either in India or in the diaspora abroad. Fourthly, Shri Arvind Kejriwal, during his first two Press conferences, seem to have fired all his bullets without seriously hurting Shri Vadra. He does not appear to have any more unused bullets at his disposal. And, fifthly, by announcing beforehand that he would be exposing another prominent personality on October 16, Shri Kejriwal has set a trap for himself. Whether he targets another prominent personality or tries to re-use the same bullets against Shri Vadra, he will dilute the public focus on the Sonia Gandhi family.

5. Congress circles feel that the allegations made by Shri Kejriwal are nothing but re-cycled versions of allegations made by a national business daily earlier this year. Those allegations were not taken note of by the conventional media---print or TV----, but were noted and exploited on the Net by a group of NRIs, which has been carrying on a campaign against Mrs.Sonia Gandhi and her family and in favour of the Hindutva organisations. This NRI group kept the allegations re-cycled through various means and these have now been picked up by Shri Kejriwal and his IAC. It is claimed that in addition to these re-cycled allegations from the Net, there have been no new allegations in the charges levelled by Shri Kejriwal.

6. These Congress circles draw attention to the intriguing coincidence between the campaign against Mrs. Sonia Gandhi unleashed by Shri Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, on the issue of her foreign travel expenditure and the campaign against Shri Vadra over his wealth unleashed by the IAC group. They suspect that the same group of pro-Hindutva NRIs is the inspiring force behind both the campaigns.

7. The initial panic was also caused by the dramatic projection to the viewers by the TV channels  of the charges made by Shri Kejriwal against Shri Vadra. This panic  has also since subsided. They point out how the TV pendulum dramatically swung towards Anna Hazare during his fast in August last year and then equally dramatically swung away from him when there were signs of agitation fatigue in Mumbai where Anna went for the second stage of his campaign. They are hoping that the TV pendulum, which has swung towards Shri Kejriwal, would similarly swing away from him if he keeps re-cycling old allegations.

8. The new strategy of the Congress is to give a long rope to Shri Kejriwal and not to do anything in panic. Unless Shri Kejriwal is able to come out with a smoking gun or new evidence, this strategy might work.(12-10-12)

(The  writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:  Twitter @SORBONNE75)


Ashwin Rao said...

This just reiterates the various statements made by Sushil Kumar Shinde and other politicians that after some time the news and its impact dies down. To be honest Kejriwals allegations were more of a attention gathering exercise rather than a genuine attempt to improve transparency in the shady deals involving politicians.

What dissapoints me the most is the fact that a man of your seniority seems to have given the media a clean chit. Your statement "those allegations were not taken note of by the conventional media" does not take into account the nexus between the politicians and the media houses. For example, it is impossible to think of the Sakal group writing anything against Sharad Pawar. Similarly most of the mainstream media are to a large extent mouthpieces of political parties. So one cannot rule out any possible misdeeds by stating the media did not follow the leads, i.e., the incompetence of the media cannot be used as a cover to hide the misdeeds of any person.

What the government can do is to setup an honest investigation. I cannot imagine any company with the number of employees reported by Vadra showing such an astronomical growth in revenue and profits. If indeed he is such a good businessman then his steps need to be followed and replicated by the so called "AAM AADMI".

Unknown said...

How delightful you sound now that the Congress seemed to have "solved" #VadraGate!

Do you charge the Congress for your consultancy or do you just give it for free, hoping to get a few crumbs from Sonia Gandhi's leftovers?

IndianCritic said...

You are a good strategic thinker, but when it comes to politics you are plain biased.

In your first post (on Arvind-Robart issue) you were giving advice on how can Vadra clear his name (instead of how can we find truth) in the 2nd post there was an attempt to generate negativity for kejriwal (only problem is most of the people who read this blog also follow such news in depth and now that things written in post are one-sided points) lastly today I found you celebrating the fact that finally congress has situation under control!

What happened to the inherit quest for truth? Who will think for the wellbeing of the nation and not just few powerful people?

I am writing this comment because I always found your posts a good read.. but deepy disappointed by your outlook when it comes to politics. Expected a more balanced view.

Kishor said...

I am not sure what to think any more. Sometimes you say you are independent, sometimes you say that you supported BJP, but your tone and obvious delight that Congress is getting away with blatant corruption, indicates your patronage of the Congress party, and not independent ex-civil servant.

Have courage, country needs independent people to play part in steering India out of rough waters.

everestpeak said...

Dear Raman:

I am suprised at your continued loyalty to Congress. I am not able to come to terms with your angle of thought.

Even if were an allegation, given the position Mr. Vadra occupies...these have to cleared / investigated properly.

From the documents produced by Mr. Kejriwal...there seems to have sufficient cause for an investigation. From some reason know to are averse to clear cut investigation on the Gandhi family.

everestpeak said...
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