“Scam Fatigue” May Save Singh’s Hide

Manmohan Singh“‘People are struck by the magnitude of the scandal,’ said political analyst Praful Bidwai. ‘This is pretty outrageous.’”

. . . writes Jason Overdorf at Global Post about the corruption cases that have been rocking India. Wikipedia explains that what’s known as the 2G spectrum “involved officials in the government of India illegally undercharging mobile telephony companies for frequency allocation licenses, which they would use to create 2G [second generation] subscriptions for cell phones. The shortfall between the money collected and the money which the law mandated to be collected is 1,76,379 crore rupees or USD 39 billion.”

Meanwhile, writes Overdorf, “Every day, new revelations hit the headlines from leaked transcripts of tapped telephone conversations between an influential lobbyist and top politicians, billionaire tycoons and (formerly) respected journalists.” While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh isn’t implicated, “the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party [the right-wing, vehemently Hindu BJP -- RW] . . . said he was asleep at the switch.” However Singh’s National Congress party retaliated via its “general secretary, Digvijay Singh, in the role of hatchet man as he defended the 40-year-old prime minister-in-waiting, Rahul Gandhi.”

Embracing Rahul’s trepidations about “Hindu terror” — WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables revealed that Rahul told the U.S. ambassador that he feared Hindu terrorist groups more than Islamic ones — the general secretary attacked the BJP’s Hindu nationalist parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). And by amplifying Rahul’s rhetoric — [Digvijay Singh] apparently sought to shift the focus from corruption to communalism, the word India uses to discuss its religious divides.

“The RSS in the garb of its nationalist ideology is targeting Muslims the same way Nazis targeted Jews in the 1930s,” Digvijay told plenary attendees.

Meanwhile, will the 2G spectrum scam bring down the Manmohan Singh administration? Overdorf again:

. . . in scam central, questions remain whether corruption allegations alone — or even a smoking gun — is enough to engineer a change in government. One need look no further than the last election results to see that Indians — who by and large believe that all their politicians are equally corrupt — suffer from scam fatigue.

We can commiserate. Americans too have an almost endless capacity to overlook corruption.