India was declared a Republic State in 1950. The patriots who had struggled for this event could not have envisaged that after fifty years of that great event, India would be in such a dilapidated political shape, as it was in the year 1998.
But in its first full-term, BJP failed to impress the electorate and Congress came back to power and had two consecutive terms in office with Congress-led coalition government, ie UPA. In these years, corruption was rampant and reached its nadir.
Narendra Modi, in his election campaign in 2014, therefore, strategised to relentlessly focus on corruption in government and promised to the electorate to eradicate this completely, if given a chance. Voters resoundingly supported him to power and started expecting that the corrupt would be brought to book and actions taken against.
Modi took about three years to unblock the decision making process, streamline the bureaucracy and the administrative system. He also did demonetisation as (inter alia), a strong anti-corruption measure. He initiated and progressed with proceedings against Vijay Mallya. GST is also expected to act against corruption.
The Centre has recently turned heat on tax evaders with a new portal to investigate them. The portal designed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) will identify those who have made large deposits or purchases and which are not in-line with declared income as a follow-up to Operation Clean Money, launched against black money by the Centre.
Simultaneously, economic measures like speeding up of infrastructure projects, improving business climate and introduction of Insolvency and Bankruptcy law and Aadhaar, reduction of fiscal deficit, proper exchange management, control of inflation and increase in FDI inflows are good measures of his success. Good work has been done on housing and rural development and social spending, asset construction under MGNREGA, closure of sick units and privatisation of PSUs.
All this led to increased confidence of public in Modi as borne out in his success in the recent Assembly elections. The desperate concerted onslaught by the opposition and the largely English media through stage-managed intolerance episodes, criticism of OROP implementation, challenging authenticity of surgical strike, showing of unhappiness of soldiers and demonising demonetisation, failed to influence the voters.
Now come news that corrupt political bigwigs are being hauled up. Income Tax and CBI are moving against Sonia and Rahul; Chidambaram and Karti; Virbhadra Singh and his wife; and Lalu and his family. Kejriwal and Mayawati are being accused of corruption by their close lieutenants within the party. Now, all these investigations and legal actions will take quite some time. In any case, the outcome is as yet very uncertain. Yet, in public perception, the actions and happenings are welcome leading to the hope that the guilty will all be punished.
The writer is a commentator on contemporary issues.