Telangana – A Campaign Against Andhra’s ‘Corruption Inc.’

File picture: Students protesting for Telangana

By: J R Janumpalli

The present ‘Jan Lok Pal’ andolan against corruption is a good thing. But it is not ‘second freedom struggle’ as some people tried to portray it. Anna Hajare is a great soul, his fighting for ‘Jan Lok Pal’ to include everybody in the ambit of this anti corruption ombudsman, is a great thing. Every citizen who wants to  enjoy the fruits of real freedom should support it. But Lokpal cannot be presumed as the panacea for all the corruption, it is only one of many means, to curb corruption in a democracy. But unfortunately, the crop of present day politicians in India, have graduated fast to the grade of ‘profligates’ of Sir Winston Churchill’s forecast. As the record proves, they are capable of bamboozling any well meaning legislation to nothing with in no time. In fact they can morph any legislation to their advantage with consummate ease. Let us hope that they cannot do it to ‘Jan Lok Pal’. Any ways, Jan Lok Pal provides a great tool in the hands of the people to report corruption and expect quick justice. But it will be superficial if we do not diagnose the real reasons for corruption at ground level and check them suitably. Leaving everything to ‘Lok Pal’ may leave the institution ineffective. As the saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure’.

It would be futile to think of a corruption less society – at least in India. Corruption was there in our society since time immemorial. But, after independence our political class, have the distinction of making it world class. Like many other things, it has redoubled after economic liberalization. Now corruption in India has gained a ‘hitec’ or ‘corporate’ status. In a short span of about 15 years, this hitec corruption is being institutionalized and is becoming an integral part of the political system. There is definitely a need to immediately contain this burgeoning virus.This corporate corruption, is undertaken with a contrived ‘development slogan. The real IT and other corporate companies, seldom ask for what government gave them. Government solicits companies to take state resources as attractive sops at minimal prices, for obvious reasons. Government also distributes state resources to their agents/ clients/partners  in the scheme, for the development of infrastructure for corporate business and together loot the resources, at will. Later these agents will do lucrative business with these subsidized endowments and share the spoils with govt.functionaries.  The party high command will acquiesce these underhanded deals, because some part of this lucre goes in to the coffers of the party, for recycling in to the next elections. The CM is the principal player in this game and obviously will be the biggest beneficiary. The events in AP, TamilNadu, Chattisgadh, and Karnataka and also at the center have highlighted this kind of corporate corruption.

This corporate corruption has its roots in A.P. Though earlier there were several political misdemeanors in the state, the real ‘hitec’ or corporate corruption has originated with Telugu Desham under the rule of Chanda Babu Naidu (CBN). It started with the creation of a ‘vote bank’ for TDP with the share in the government spending for party workers in myriad populist schemes. Then distributing the largesse around Hyderabad to his social group, making them rich and conspicuous in every walk of life and making all of them land/commercial barons in and around Hyderabad. His ‘hitec’ looting in the name of govt.concessions to IT, Infrastructure, Real estate Cos, Educational institutions etc., is an open secret. His real-estate in Hyderabad, lands all over the state, his partnerships in big business in the country, his investments in foreign countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai etc., and stashing away of thousands of crores of rupees in foreign banks for spending in elections- all this is a folklore  in the country. The central Govt. is in the know of his foreign accounts.  He accumulated this fraudulent wealth, with an ambition to rule the state almost lifelong. Now, it is said that the value of his properties transformed from a mere 2 acre farm land into more than Rs.20, 000 crores.

YS Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), with his stupendous ‘Padayatra’ and his focus on rural development as against the plagiaristic ‘world bank’ model of CBN, has wrested power from TDP in 2004. He brought George Bush to Agricultural University, and shown him all the facets of rural economy of A.P. as against the CBN’s false hitec gimmics to Clinton in Hitec city. The people of A.P.  were elated and expected a lot from him. But within a year’s time the same ‘corporate’corruption bug of CBN has bitten him and the unrestrained power has gone to his head. With his oversized ego and unbounded ambition to rule the state for a very long time, he has copied the corporate/hitec corruption of CBN, and tried to overtake him within a short span of 5-6 years. His sale of Hyderabad lands, allotment of lands to SEZs & Corporate businesses, allotment of mines, acquisition of lands for Ring Road, ‘Jalayagnam’, Power projects etc., created development hype. Distributing state resources to his cohorts, launching economically unviable, white elephant like, populist welfare schemes have earned him a lot of political goodwill and brought him to power again. He wanted to bring Congress Party into power again in 2014.Blinded by this obsession; he has unleashed several projects for kickbacks.  In the process he earned money to float several companies for his son and to spend for elections in the state and siphoned off some of the lucre to adhishtanam for its election budget. Thus, who had an income of 11 lakhs in 2004 said to have increased his net worth to more than Rs.20000 crores by 2010.

This is the saga of hitec/corporate corruption of A.P. The fodder for these scams came almost all of it from Hyderabad and Telangana.  If CBN & YSR are the whales in this Ocean of Corruption there are several sharks as their minions in the shape of Ramoji, Raju, M.Mohan, Kavuri, Lagadapati, Subbirami etc. This corruption model attracted the attention of several political goons in other states, like Koda, Kanimoli, Gali etc., and Central Government is also has its share in this with CWG Games, 2 –G Spectrum scams. Congress adhishtanam is also a beneficiary of this phenomenon. And has acquiesced this malady to garner funds for its election coffers. Some core committee and coterie members of Congress also said to have feathered their nests with this phony money. This hitec corruption which has its epicenter in A.P. is fast spreading to other parts of the country. It is so palpable that, there is so much overwhelming support for Anna Hazare’s Lok Pal Bill.

The hitec or corporate corruption started to raise its ugly head from 1996 synchronizing with the political power of CBN. He is the father of this hitec corruption and is a guru to YSR. And YSR managed to dwarf his guru in this game at the earliest. There is a marked difference in their styles. CBN is perhaps the most cunning, self centered politician in the country today. He is liberal to himself and his social group and very circumspect with others in sharing the spoils. He was very crafty in creating muddle some political situations, to protect his political interests and his unscrupulous behind-the-scene activities. He successfully screened his corrupt activities behind third front politics, as a partner in BJP government and now with his covert alliance with state and National Congress to deal with Jagan and Telangana. He is truly the king of corruption as Tehelka has opined earlier.

YSR was arrogant, egocentric and impatient. Perhaps he was in a hurry to upstage his betenoir CBN. He was not discreet and not crafty enough to camouflage his corruption. He was little too liberal in distributing state assets to his own social group and also others. We do not know how it would have turned out if he lived longer, but the nemesis has caught up with him too soon. His son Jagan with his unnecessary braggadocio also did not help his cause of political filibuster to rule the roost for long. Sonia Gandhi acquiesced YSR for obvious reasons and created a ‘Frankenstein’.

Whatever be their styles, both of these ‘honchos’ ably assisted by their minions have plundered Telangana like ‘Thugs and Pindaris’ of yester years and became ‘super models’ of corporate corruption in whole of India. There is need to expose the total fraud made by these two in full for the good of our democracy.

Lok Pal is certainly a potent tool to curb this malfeasance. But it will not be a panacea for the disease of corruption, especially, this government sponsored corporate corruption. It needs to be delved deep and diagnose correctly to work out effective remedial measures. It needs to examine the working of cabinet. The equal responsibility of cabinet ministers is to be assessed denovo.All government contracts; mega projects are to be transparent to all the cabinet ministers. The chief minister and the bureaucracy cannot make decisions without the knowledge of other cabinet ministers. The system of political subservience to CM and adhishtanam giving un limited powers to them is also to be studied. It should be made mandatory to make govt.spending public, before actually spending .There is need for political and administrative reforms.

Telangana Struggle is essentially a reaction to andhra’s Corruption Inc. This relentless struggle for the last ten years is the progenitor for the present day Anna Harare’s ‘Jan Lok Pal Bill’. Though this campaign was going on for the last ten years, all the gory details of injustices and corruption of andhras, were made available and 650 youth have sacrificed their lives in this campaign, it did not move the people at national level. The national media has approached the issue with a disdainful indifference.

Telangana statehood will unravel all the sinister nuances of this gruesome carnage of corporate corruption and will be an eye opener to the Nation. It will help identify the areas where we need reforms to work out a very effective Ombudsman on corruption in whole of India. The National media which was cynical to Hazare’s campaign in the beginning is now waxing eloquent of his unqualified success. In the same way it can shed its bias and take a fresh look at the campaign of Telangana against corporate corruption.

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