While the Narendra Modi-led BJP government and the entire Sangh conglomerate is busy beating the drums of jingoism and xenophobia by magnifying the skirmishes between the Indian and Pakistani military personnel at the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir at a crucial time when three BJP-ruled states- Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are going to polls and the country is going towards a crucial Lok Sabha Election in 2019, the gigantic ₹58,000-crore Rafale Jet scam, which is called the largest of all defence scams that took place in India, is hanging like an albatross around the neck of the self-styled patriots of the RSS variant as more skeletons are walking out of their closet.
Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence, which was only 12 days old when it bagged its first multi-billion dollar defence deal without holding any prior experience in multi-role combat aircraft maintenance, indeed managed to keep all decks in the Indian defence establishment in its own favour; however, the loose knots in the French chain are giving up, one by one, and revealing the ugly facts that are reaffirming the common people’s belief that the Modi regime is a servile agent of the big foreign corporations, banks and their Indian comprador lackeys like Ambanis, Adanis or Tatas. No amount of anti-Pakistan rhetoric, beheading hysteria or chauvinism-laced high decibel propaganda through toady news anchors can portray the Narendra Modi-led BJP regime as a pro-poor government anymore, unless Narendra Modi brings in some new surprise element like the infamous demonetisation exercise to temporarily captivate the majority of the poor and cajole them in voting for the BJP.
As former French president, François Hollande revealed the well-known fact that the Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Defence was chosen by the Government of India as the Indian partner of Dassault instead of the public sector giant HAL, the Modi regime suffered a setback in its endeavour to befool the people of India. The earlier attempts to cover-up the huge corruption embedded in this multi-billion dollar Rafale deal were all washed away and new hoodwinking techniques were introduced. One of them being that Dassault itself selected Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as its partner, even after knowing that the then 12-day-old company had no hands-on experience in dealing with multi-role combat aircraft like the Rafale Jet. Also, the Modi regime has intensified its hysteric war cry against Pakistan and mobilised its troops and military apparatus to conduct some kind of distraction at the border so that the public attention from the Rafale deal can be diverted.
One must not forget that the BJP, which portrays itself as the most pro-military organisation of the country and equates the salaried military staff with patriotism and nationalism, has been the single largest party involved in multiple defence scams and yet managed to get a clean chit in each of them because of the leeway provided to the party and its parent body, the RSS, by the Indian ruling classes. Accustomed with extreme mendacity, the RSS and the BJP leaders are expert in diverting public attention from those scams in which they’re involved to such incidents that help the saffron camp to polarise the upper-caste Hindu voters.
For example, the case of former BJP president Bangaru Laxman accepting a bribe from Tehelka journalists with a promise to help them bag big-ticket defence deals created a stir in the country but was soon sent to the backburner while the BJP created a ruckus over new issues, including the Gujarat pogrom.
A multi-million dollar casket scam was unearthed by the Comptroller and Auditor General during the reign of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, under which highly priced aluminium caskets were ordered to carry the corpse of soldiers during the Kargil conflict. When George Fernandez, the then defence minister, was cornered on the case and the opposition started demanding discussion on the Coffingate scam in the parliament, an attack on the parliament took place one quiet morning of December 2001 and since then, the BJP got the opportunity to divert the mass attention from that mammoth scam to the purported threat of “Islamic” terrorism, which resulted into numerous extra-judicial killing of hapless Muslims by the Islamophobic Indian state machinery.
If the pattern of the BJP under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah remains the same, and the party has to create a stir in its favour before the crucial elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, and also before the 2019 Lok Sabha election, then it will surely ignite the flames of a different crisis to distract the people’s attention. With the new puppet of US imperialism, Imran Khan, perched at the head of the Pakistani civil administration as a docile tool of its feudal-military establishment, a military skirmish between the two nuclear-power rogue states will become imminent. Though such a skirmish will cause catastrophic loss of lives at both ends, it will surely provide enough political fodder to the ruling establishment of two countries to capitalise and survive on.
With any skirmish with Pakistan in the near future, the BJP and the Modi regime will be able to undo the crisis caused to its rule by the Rafale deal and its other pro-corporate servile acts. Thus, the peace-loving, democratic and anti-fascist people of India need to play a very crucial role in this juncture to puncture any such attempts by the fascist BJP to divert mass attention or to impose the burden of a ghastly war on the people of the country. Unless the conspiracies of the BJP and the Hindutva fascist camp are thrashed, the peril of war, violence and bloodshed will loom large on the people of India.
Nabeel Anwer is a Delhi-based journalist who writes on issues related to the minority communities and marginalised people. His harsh criticism of the system got Facebook to censor him repeatedly.