On Monday, Gaur told reporters that drinking liquor is a "fundamental right" and a status symbol to boot. I don’t know what or who instigated this change of heart or made him aware about his “fundamental” right, but I suspect it could be a glass of IMFL. Or may be a glass of Bourbon, who knows?
Our leaders are known to have fine tastes.
Nevertheless, what we are certain of is that the glass of whatever the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister has been drinking has made him philosophical too.
Speaking on the Vyapam saga, a massive admission and recruitment scam involving politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen, and the death of 25 accused and witnesses linked to the scandal, Gaur told reporters that people keep dying every day due to various reasons and it is natural, implying that the deaths of those linked to the scam are natural and have nothing to do with the scam or its kingpins.
"Death is a natural occurrence. One who has been born will die," the minister said on Monday, rejecting demands for a probe into the unexplained deaths.
“Death is natural...be it in the jail or on rail (train), one who has been born will die," he said, rejecting a plea for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the scam.
The Special Investigating Team (SIT) probing the cases had three days ago submitted to the Madhya Pradesh high court that 23 people linked to the scam had died unnatural deaths.
Gaur’s comments are plain insensitive and in any other country, such remarks would have attracted censure by his boss and the party he belongs to, but then such irresponsible utterances are par for the course in Indian politics.
His comments also reflect the Madhya Pradesh government’s stand on the issue: We will do what it takes to keep the shroud on the scam deaths and the kingpins; even if it means inflicting the Babulal Gaur school of dark humour on the people.
In fact, I won’t be surprised if Gaur is hailed within the BJP for showing such bravado to defend the Madhya Pradesh government.
Gaur, who is responsible for law and order in the state, is following the BJP’s senior leadership’s manual on how to tackle scam allegations: If you can’t win, obfuscate the matter till the storm blows over.
The public and their hard questions be damned.
(The views expressed by the writer are personal. She tweets as @kumkumdasgupta)