How hacks malign Swamy

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy’s entry into Rajya Sabha has not only rattled the Gandhi Family, their flunkeys within the grand old party, and their well-wishers within the BJP; it has also ruffled many journalists’ feather. Some scribes are so badly annoyed that, having lost the sense of proportion, have said goodbye to every pretense of objectivity. Adopting the take-no-prisoners approach, they have launched a blitzkrieg against Swamy.

Unfortunately, in their anger and frustration, they are making stupid arguments. One of them recently wrote that Swamy keeps making wild allegations against the likes of Sonia Gandhi because nobody has successfully filed a defamation case against him. Well, is Swamy to be blamed for the failure, unwillingness, or laziness of his opponents in successfully suing him?

Most people want to be friends with the powerful and the influential. But Swamy has a penchant for choosing powerful and influential opponents—Sonia Gandhi, P. Chidambaram, Arun Jaitley; earlier, there were Dhirubhai Ambani, Atal Bihari Vajapayee, R.K. Hegde. Swamy doesn’t punch below his weight. So, it is curious that none of them, with tremendous resources at their command, have succeeded in sticking the defamation charges on him in any court of law. This is despite the fact that many of his targets are ace lawyers and Swamy is not, though his knowledge of the law is excellent. In other words, his opponents have the ability to drag anybody to court and make their life miserable.

So, are his enemies so magnanimous so as to take his barbs and assaults without a germ of desire arising in their hearts to strike back? This cannot be true, for some of them, like Sonia and Chidambaram, are vindictive characters. The former finance minister has openly intimidated journalists in the past; he has been cause of discomfort many a media-person. In other words, such Gandhian virtues as magnanimity and forgiveness have to be ruled out.

This leaves us with the only plausible explanation: Swamy’s charges are not wild; there is at least some element of truth in what he says about his enemies. Now, this is very difficult for some people to swallow; they have already declared him to be a loose cannon, a misguided missile, a power-hungry opportunist, etc. Some journalists have decided to champion Sonia’s cause; they have picked up the gauntlet to counter any allegation against her. They don’t have any evidence, argument, or legal rationale to justify their stand, so they rely on a mantra: there is no evidence against Sonia.

But then Swamy is not the Indian state; it is the duty of the state to gather evidence against wrongdoers, prosecute them, and ensure that they get convicted. A private citizen can only perform his patriotic duty by highlighting wrongdoing and make a prima facie case against the culprits. Swamy does that quite efficiently—the 2G spectrum scam and the National Herald case are famous instances.

It is an open secret that all government purchases involve kickbacks; another open secret is that Manmohan Singh was the rubber stamp and Sonia was calling the shots when the United Progressive Alliance was in power. It has been proved in a court of law that bribes were paid for the buying of Agusta Westland helicopters during UPA rule. Who took the bribes in India? Even if one were not to connect the dots, raising questions about the roles of Sonia and Manmohan Singh can scarcely be called mischievous.

But Sonia-friendly hacks find it not only mischievous but also the result of a ‘vendetta’ that Swamy is carrying out against Saint Sonia. The guy is vindictive, they say; he is scoring personal scores. This line of argumentation is as untenable as it is idiotic.

First, the Supreme Court has said that the motive of a person highlighting a crime is inconsequential. Second, what is wrong with Swamy settling personal scores? If, in the process, he is able to bring the corrupt to book, it would serve the country well.

I wish there were a handful of Swamys in every party, each indulging in similar vendetta and scoring persons as well as political points. Imagine such vengeful mavericks in the Congress exposing corrupt BJP politicians, in the Aam Aadmi Party unmasking both the GOP and BJP worthies, and so on.

Also imagine the despair such a prospect would engender among corrupt politicians and their cronies in the media.