How Rajiv Gandhi’s Cabinet colleague challenged and replaced him as PMSeptember 25, 2018
The Polity itself is very unpredictable. When it comes to Indian politics, one will definitely wonderful to see variety and volatility of political circle. Interestingly, the picture of politics carries all kind of dramatic emotions like-brotherhood, friendship, revenge, enmity, loyalty, betray and conspiracy.
In the book of Indian politics, there is a chapter that carries all the hues of human life. It was the post-Indira era when the Congress and the nation were being led by charismatic young leader Rajiv Gandhi. Despite he was known as “Mr. Clean” for his unconventional political decisions and reforms, Gandhi was checkmated by his own Cabinet colleague Vishwanath Pratap Singh.
Under the leadership of Gandhi, Congress had delivered best performance by winning historic 414 seats in a House of 533 in 1984. Unlike his mother Indira Gandhi and brother Sanjay Gandhi, the young politician was a lenient and liberal leader. Gandhi, during his Prime Ministerial tenure, prompted India to enter 21st Century by having a technology friendly infrastructure. Among many reformations, he made a law to end the defection or floor-crossings. However, the move did not stop upcoming misfortune the new law allows splitting of the political party. Thus his strong-hand then Finance Minister VP Singh split from Congress and floated a new party.
Gandhi and Singh both were doing tremendous work on the front of reformation. Singh oversaw the gradual relaxation of the License Raj. He was instrumental to reduce the gold smuggling. Singh also gave extraordinary powers to the Enforcement Directorate (ED). He dealt corruption and tax-evasion with the iron hand. Under his regime, sleuths had conducted high profile raids on suspected tax evaders – including businessman Dhirubhai Ambani and actor Amitabh Bachchan.
Singh’s courageous initiatives cost him his ministry and he was given Defence Ministry in January 1987. In Defence Ministry, he smelled irregularity in defense procurement and began the investigation of some big deals including Bofors.
As alleged Bofors scam came to light, a rumor was spread that Singh possessed information about the deal that could damage Gandhi’s reputation. Before Singh could act further, he was dismissed from the Cabinet. In response, Singh resigned his memberships in Congress. Thus Bofors scam became a splitter and the duo turned political enemies.
Unlike Rajiv Gandhi, Singh was a seasoned politician and he turned the ill-fated into a fortune by riding the same Bofors scam that cost his ousting from Congress. He successfully made Bofors scam an election agenda in General Election 1989. His newly floated party- Janta Malformed government by uprooting Rajiv Gandhi-led Cabinet.
Unfortunately, the rivalry of friends-turned-foes did not last for long as Gandhi was assassinated in a political rally in Chennai in 1991.
However, the saga of two stalwarts will be always remembered in Indian politics for their incredible contribution.