Vol. XLI No. 31 July 30, 2017

BJP Corruption Scandals in Kerala

UNDER Narendra Modi’s regime, the BJP has been boasting about the clean record of the government and the ruling party. It has projected a “swach” image in contrast to the corruption-ridden record of the UPA government.

These claims have been made despite the gigantic Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh under BJP rule.  This widespread corruption network must rank as one of the biggest scandals ever in a state.  Similarly, there have been many corruption cases occurring in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh under BJP rule.

Now the lid has been blown open regarding the widespread and systematic corruption indulged in by some BJP leaders in Kerala.  Unlike the other BJP-ruled states, the party is in the opposition and a small force in the state. But it’s leaders have, however,  utilised the opportunities presented by the BJP being the ruling party at the centre, to collect bribes to get work done which is under the purview of central institutions. 

The bribery and corruption, which have affected the state unit of the BJP, came out in the open after the leakage of a report of an enquiry committee constituted by the party regarding charges against one of its leaders.  The enquiry report confirmed that R S Vinod, convenor of its state cooperative cell, had taken a bribe of Rs 5.6 crore from the owner of a private medical college for getting recognition from the Medical Council of India. It was reported that the money was transferred to Delhi through a hawala transaction.  The report also mentioned a charge made  against another senior leader, M T Ramesh, that he had taken a bribe of a similar amount from another medical college owner to get recognition.

The leakage of the report to the media led to an outcry within the party and charges and counter charges of corruption were levelled by leaders of different factions.  The BJP was forced to expel Vinod from the party, but the accusations of bribery have not abated. The State Vigilance body has initiated an enquiry into the medical college bribery case. 

This exposure came after the news that some BJP leaders in Thrissur district had been arrested for printing of fake currency notes. Probably the demonetisation drive of the Modi government had inspired them to undertake this venture.  To add to the woes of the BJP, news came of the arrest of a BJP leader of Malappuram district who was arrested on a complaint of taking a bribe of Rs 10 lakh for a bank appointment.  

More and more, charges of misappropriation of party funds and extortions are surfacing. What all these events show is the depth of degeneration of the Hindutva party. It has become obvious to the people of Kerala that the BJP consists a bunch of leaders who, under the cover of saffron colours, were utilising every opportunity to indulge in bribery and money making.

The Kerala BJP leaders are notorious for making hay while the sun shines under BJP governments at the centre.  During the Vajpayee government, an internal party probe revealed that Rs 18 crore was made by the Kerala unit by getting bribes for allocation of petrol pumps. 

It would be a mistake to consider the corruption scandals within the BJP in Kerala as a purely localised state phenomenon. The allocations and permissions from central government departments, require “middle-men” of the party at the centre. Moreover, if party men can go on the make, even when they are in the opposition, one can imagine the scale of bribery and corruption which is affecting the state governments and central government run by the BJP. It is only a matter of time before the skeletons come tumbling out of the cupboards of the Modi government.