The Prime Minister expanded his Cabinet recently. The Cabinet did need a few more people because the existing Ministers were holding more than one portfolio. However, in the light of the Prime Minister being so much against corruption and wanting to uphold some new kind of culture in administration, it would be appropriate if he takes a glance at the assets declared by his Ministers. It was reported in the papers that the Ministers have declared their assets. The Congress method was to overlook all this and take cognisance only if some disproportionate case is filed or the Income Tax Department wakes up. However, this Prime Minister would do well to examine these statements himself. After all, nobody can suddenly make money. If somebody who has no wealth at all has come into substantial wealth, the Prime Minister must satisfy himself that it was done in a proper manner. Otherwise forget about punishing him or prosecuting him or proceeding against him, he should at least be dropped from the Council of Ministers. The Minister should have a clean image. If the Prime Minister has a clean image, he must see to it that his colleagues have a clean image. Anybody with a doubtful image should be dropped. That would be one way of signalling that gone are the days when you had to wait for the law to catch up with you, which may takes years and years and years. Actually, this whole country needs to get away from this culture of legal proceedings and prosecution. I have said the same for cricket. The moment a player is found, even with a shadow of doubt, that he is involved in betting or match fixing he should be dropped from the team. There cannot be a bigger punishment than being dropped from the team. People are talking of the CBI and prosecution all the time, that is of no use. The best punishment is to drop the cricketer and in this case, drop the Minister. After all a Central Cabinet Minister is a powerful post, and if you lose that power you lose a lot. The Prime Minister is well advised to ask one of his IB people or one of his senior deputies in the PMO to go through these records, and he himself should confront such Ministers from where they have got in ten years amounts worth 70 crores, 100 crores, without having any capital, any talent, any industry, anything which could help them to earn them that much money. I can understand people like Arun Jaitley who was a corporate lawyer, getting lakhs of rupees as fees everyday. If he has earned that money, paid his taxes and accumulated that into assets, moveable or immoveable, one can understand. But there are Ministers who have no such qualifications, who have no such capital, whose fathers were very simple in their living habits and suddenly they have come into big wealth. How? And if the Prime Minister does not drop these Ministers, then we will understand that all this talk of clean Government and clean administration is just that — talk.
Now comes the Opposition. The Congress, it appears, has lost all enthusiasm in reviving its party. After all there is an Opposition space. Okay, there are 44 MPs. So what? In the first 2 – 3 Lok Sabhas, the Congress was the dominant party and no party had so many MPs which could qualify to be the Leader of the Opposition. They had similar figures, even much less than 44, yet they were effective. Because the individuals who were in the Opposition, used to debate, used to find the points, used to stand up to the Government. What has happened to the Congress? Nobody speaks anything. The speculation is whether Rahul Gandhi wants to lead the party or not. That is their internal problem, but somebody must lead the Congress. It is a more than hundred years old party. It is still the largest party in India in terms of workers and reach. Alright, in these elections the BJP has got a clear majority. That does not mean that after 5 years Congress cannot do well. But they cannot do well if they try nothing. In this light it is a commendable thing that Mulayam Singh Yadav has taken the initiative to try to occupy the Opposition space by reviving the Janata Dal or Janata Party. The Janata Parivar had a meeting which augurs well. They should work further to consolidate themselves into a single party with a single flag and a single symbol. And they are all basically from the Lohia school of thought. If the Congress is from the Nehru school of thought and the BJP is from the Deendayal Upadhyay school of thought, then the Socialists are from the Lohia school of thought. So there are no ideological differences between Mulayam Singh, Lalu Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav, etc. The earlier they merge into a single party, the nation will have an effective Opposition voice and an effective alternative to be considered at the time of next elections. After all six months have gone, time flies. This is even more important because the Government is already six months old. It looks nowhere near fulfilling its promises of giving employment or getting black money from abroad. As it is they were tall promises but now they have found out that they are difficult to fulfill. You see articles in newspapers already saying that money in Swiss banks has disappeared and come back to India via Singapore and Mauritius. And articles are written by people close to the powers that be, which means that they have realised that these are not promises that can be fulfilled. In this light it is all the more urgent that the Janata Parivar comes together and creates a groundswell in UP and Bihar that the agro sector cannot be neglected. ‘Make in India’ is good but the agro sector is the backbone of the economy and the farmer should be given a fair deal if we want rural prosperity and overall prosperity in these populous States of the North.