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C is for Congress...

india Updated: Dec 20, 2010 23:08 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The alliterative agenda so beloved of political party meets was in evidence as the Congress plenary in Burari wound up. Corruption, credibility and controversy were the theme songs, though played out in a muted fashion. For those reading between the lines, there was lots of white space. The corruption issue was dealt with in prescriptive mode. The only highlight of an otherwise predictable meeting was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offering to appear before a Public Accounts Committee, something the opposition has rejected out of hand. But the PM emerges from the plenary stronger with an unequivocal endorsement of his leadership from the party president.

Several references were made on how to curb corruption. The most do-able of Sonia Gandhi's five commandments on the subject was that of asking Congress chief ministers and ministers at the Centre to give up their discretionary powers, especially in land allotment. These 'discretionary' quotas were meant originally to fast-track allotments for the needy. But they have become a powerful tool for the disbursal of patronage to cronies. Another helpful commandment asks for the speeding up of corruption cases involving public servants and arriving at some closure within a timeframe.

But coming as this plenary does in the backdrop of the 2G scam, the measures suggested seem more a case of shutting the barn after the horse has bolted. It is perhaps because the party anticipated that all this is not likely to appease the Opposition that it went into attack mode right off the starting block. From castigating the BJP for its personal attacks on the PM to the role of the RSS in alleged terror activities, the party attempted to demolish the credibility of the BJP. But the real test of how the party will tackle the three Cs will be in evidence once again when Parliament reconvenes in for the budget session. If it adds a few more Cs — those of courage and conviction — the Burari blueprint could eventually become a roadmap.