People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIV

No. 01

January 03, 2010


Handling La-Affaire Tiwari

 

K Nageshwar

 

THE allegations on Andhra Pradesh governor of his involvement in the sex scandal was received by the world with great shock and dismay. The manner in which this sex scandal happened, the fact that Raj Bhavan was the centre of this heinous crime and the mafia type operations with which it was carried out reveal the preposterous proportions of this incident. Still, the central government decided to bail out Narayan Dutt Tiwari by providing him the safe haven and a honorable exit which speak volumes about its political and administrative culture that goes to any extent to protect the people well connected with the highest power circles.

The president had several options. She should have immediately recalled him or at least summoned him to Delhi to give an explanation based on which action could have followed. The best recourse would have been an unceremonial dismissal of Narayan Dutt Tiwari. His political past however mighty it would be can not absolve him of the most heinous crime alleged upon him. The office of Tiwari issued only a simple dismissal calling the expose of ABN Andhra Jyothi as fabricated.  If the argument is true, what prevented Tiwari from filing criminal defamation case against this channel? The ABN Andhra Jyothi channel should be congratulated for the courage with which it had reported the story braving all possible consequences. By allowing him to resign, the central government has also displayed its culpability. The reports suggest that Tiwari tendered his resignation at the suggestion of the Congress high command. The reasons cited for his resignation are absurd. Tiwari says he is resigning on health grounds. Why did his health frail only after ABN channel revealed the real face of his personal life. At the age of 86, he is in good health to indulge in activities which civilised society prohibit. The remarks of Congress are much more ridiculous. The Congress said that Tiwari took the appropriate decision. But, the party failed to explain what prevented the central government from taking appropriate action on Tiwari. The congress media department chairman Janardan Dwivedi told the media “I think he (Tiwari) does not want to hold an office till it is proved that whether it is true or false”. Tiwari has “taken an appropriate decision keeping in view high standards of public life.” But, the seasoned congressman in Tiwari did not bother about even minimum standards (not high) in personal life (not public life).The congress unabashedly uses the phrases like high standards to defend Tiwari. The congress claims that Tiwari acted on moral grounds and resigned. Alas!  moral action in the wake of media exposing most immoral act.

The congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said the congress had repeatedly shown that it acted on moral principles whatever be the legal status of the guilt. Mr Tiwari disputed all charges and had a court injunction in his favour, yet he acted on moral principles, the Congress spokesman said. Therefore, the Congress refuses to accept that Tiwari had committed the crime. It has also failed to show any kind of shocking response which an ordinary citizen is displaying.  Narayan Dutt Tiwari had a history of facing many such allegations all through his ‘illustrious’ career.  But, the Congress party repeatedly installed him in high political offices as chief minister, governor, union minister etc., perhaps, this is the congress style of moral actions.

It should be noted here that Tiwari’s resignation came only after a public out cry. The CPI(M) party wrote to the president demanding action. The BJP threatened   to make it an issue.

It is deplorable that Congress is making a virtue out of the Tiwari’s decision to resign. But, Tiwari was facing paternity suit even before he was installed in the office of governor of Andhra Pradesh. The image of highest constitutional offices should not be at stake while choosing people for highest positions. Tiwari may leave RajBhavan, but, the scars on it will remain for time to come. The dignity, integrity and the prestige of the office of the governor was put to shame after this scandal coming to light. The nation still cannot go on listening to explanations like legal status of the allegations, veracity or otherwise of the allegations etc.

The alleged misconduct of Tiwari had shocked the nation. Therefore, the action should be such that the people’s confidence in highest constitutional offices is restored. The television expose made it untenable for Tiwari to continue in such a high constitutional post. The system has to react with extreme sensitivity in such a situation rather than giving feeble explanations.

Tiwari no longer enjoys the immunity under the constitution as he is no longer in office. Normal criminal proceedings should be initiated against him. Justice cannot be different for different people. High and mighty can not be allowed to escape from law. Proper protection should be provided to those who helped in bringing all this to light. Tiwari could not have indulged in this heinous crime without the active support of many. There are allegations against his officer on special duty. This officer should be immediately tried for performing yet altogether different special duty. There are allegations that several members of parliament are also involved. There would be frantic attempts to cover up. A comprehensive investigation should be ordered immediately.

Infact, there should be renewed debate on the relevance of the institution of governor in Indian federal democracy. The constitution envisaged that governor would be the representative of the constitution at the state level. Often, he or she acted as the agent of the Party in power at the centre. The time has come to do away with this institution that has often turned out into a thaw in federal set up.

Finally, it is a matter of concern that other Telugu newspapers and television channels refrained from reporting it until the governor resigned. Public interest should prevail over considerations of commercial competition.