The Congress runs the risk of alienating voters across the country who place a premium on probity and have been disgusted by the scam-tainted UPA 2 government. The move to rehabilitate Mr Chavan is not a sudden one. The series of decisions on Adarsh — the judicial commission of inquiry’s findings that the land belonged to the state government, repeated assertions of the lack of evidence to indict the former CM, the state government dragging its feet over accepting the report, the CBI’s bid to drop his name from the charge-sheet, the Maharashtra governor denying sanction to the CBI to prosecute him — all pointed in this direction. The candidature was the logical next step.
The Opposition will grab the opportunity to hit out at the Congress on this issue. But the BJP is not without its own share of leaders and candidates whose laundry list of legal and ethical transgressions runs long. The former Karnataka CM, BS Yeddyurappa, is a case in point. As the election campaign gathers momentum in the weeks ahead, we can expect more self-righteous chatter from the BJP about how the Congress shields the corrupt. In politically rehabilitating Mr Chavan and Mr Yeddyurappa, both parties have signalled that corruption is not an electorally significant issue, never mind the public posturing and prime-time mud-slinging on television.