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2G spectrum case judgement: What it means for Congress, DMK and BJP

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he respected the court judgement in the 2G spectrum case, which put “propaganda to rest”

india Updated: Dec 21, 2017 23:42 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
2G spectrum case judgement,Congress,BJP
A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi (centre) with his predecessor Manmohan Singh (left) and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.(REUTERS FILE PHOTO)

The acquittal of all the accused in the 2G spectrum case on Thursday came as a big relief to opposition Congress, which immediately fielded its top guns to take on political adversaries who had used the scam to paint the then-UPA regime as corrupt.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he respected the court judgement, which put “propaganda to rest”.

Former telecom minister Kapil Sibal, whose zero-loss remarks regarding 2G spectrum allocation had drawn flak, said Manmohan Singh and the UPA stood vindicated.

He demanded an apology from Vinod Rai, the then-comptroller and auditor general (CAG), whose report about a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore in the allocation of 2G spectrum had ignited a massive political controversy, which some hold as being partly responsible for the ouster of the UPA government in 2014.

Many former Union ministers and senior Congress leaders such as P Chidambaram, Kamal Nath, and Ghulam Nabi Azad were also quick to target the BJP for what they called “propaganda against the UPA”.

Just as the CAG’s conclusion had wide ramifications for the Indian polity, Thursday’s court verdict is also likely to have significant implications for major political players, in Tamil Nadu, and in national politics.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK): The judgement is likely to give a big boost to the Dravidian party that was under attack from the AIADMK and other political adversaries for the alleged involvement of K Kanimozhi, daughter of party chief M Karunanidhi, and A Raja, the Dalit face of the party who was the then Union telecom minister, in the alleged scam.

In the immediate context, their acquittal by the Delhi court could have a bearing on the by-elections for RK Nagar assembly constituency of late Jayalalithaa on Thursday.

Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi of DMK at the Patiala House court in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI)

With the AIADMK already on the back foot due to internecine fights over Jayalalithaa’s legacy, the DMK’s political stock is likely to soar.

The Congress: Like the Bofors scandal that haunted the grand old party for decades, the alleged 2G scam had given a handle to the BJP and other political adversaries of the Congress.

The party was at the receiving end of a concerted campaign by its political rivals, who used the alleged scam to paint the Congress as a corrupt party. The scam sullied the image of the UPA government and, in part, contributed to its eventual downfall in 2014.

Thursday’s verdict could give the opposition party an opportunity to project itself as a victim of political propaganda, not only in the 2G case, but also in many other cases of alleged omissions and commissions by Congress leaders.

The Bharatiya Janata Party: In the list of scams that Narendra Modi cited to project the Congress and the UPA as corrupt in the run up to the last Lok Sabha elections, 2G found special mention, given the sheer magnitude of the amount involved.

The BJP was unrelenting on Thursday. The party played down the significance of the trial court ruling, arguing that the UPA’s policy was flawed and corrupt as was clear from the Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling, cancelling 122 licences issued during Raja’s tenure as telecom minister.

Still, Thursday’s verdict is likely to take the sting out of its attack on the Congress over corruption issues, say analysts — that is, until it gets another opportunity.

A host of other corruption cases is still pending against some Congress leaders.

First Published: Dec 21, 2017 13:34 IST