AT a Mumbai function attended by Gujarat Chief Minister Mr Narendra Modi, the deputy leader of the BJP in Lok Sabha, Mr Gopinath Munde, stated that in the last general election, he had spent Rs 8 crore for his campaign. The official expenditure on campaigning allowed by the Election Commission for a Lok Sabha constituency is Rs 40 lakh. This open admission of legal violation in the normal course should immediately unseat Mr Munde from Parliament. Yet, Mr Munde threw his candid bombshell even as his hero, Mr Modi lectured to the audience on the imperative need for good governance.
Mr Munde was aware of the implications of his disclosure. But apparently, he was interested in speaking the truth regardless of consequences in order to cleanse the system. In his fight against corruption, Mr Munde bravely said: "When I contested my first election I spent just Rs 29,000.
But now, elections have become so expensive that I had to spend Rs 8 crore on my campaign in the last Lok Sabha polls. If the Election Commission comes to know, they will disqualify me. But I don’t care about it, since Parliament elections are happening just in a few months." The burden of Mr Munde&’s speech was that corruption was rising because politicians needed money to fight elections.
Is the high cost of poll expenses the only reason for rising corruption? Or does the propensity to hide the truth and survive on falsehood also have something to do with it? One wonders if it ever occurred to Mr Munde that by violating law to win an election, he was being immoral, dishonest and an abettor of corruption.
Probably, no such thought crossed his mind. He was functioning according to the prevalent corrupt culture foisted on society by our political rulers.
This becomes apparent from his remark that his disqualification would not trouble him because the next elections were shortly due. In other words, political gain was the sole criterion for what was good and justified.
One has not thus far heard from the BJP&’s new role model for governance, Mr Modi, on what he thinks about his senior colleague&’s conduct and how it impacts on good governance.
There is an ancient Indian saying: “As are the rulers, so are the subjects”. But that saying is of course very ancient. The BJP is becoming very modern. It even avails the services of an internationally reputed public relations outfit to streamline its poll campaign.
The writer is a veteran journalist and cartoonist. He blogs at www.rajinderpuri.wordpress.com