Opinion » Columns » Sainath

Updated: February 20, 2012 14:00 IST

The Iron Laws of the Earth Sciences

  • P. Sainath
Comment (91)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The Hindu

A lesser man's career might have ended long ago. But Vilasrao Deshmukh is not a lesser man. His success mounts in inverse proportion to his achievements.

Going by the form book, Union Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is due for a promotion. He's just been mangled by the Bombay High Court, setting some sort of record for a Minister getting roughed up by the higher judiciary. And every time some amazing act of the former sarpanch of Babalgaon has landed the government in deep trouble, he's been rewarded, even promoted. The classic instance being Prime Minister Manmohan Singh elevating him as Union Rural Development Minister soon after a Supreme Court judgment that would surely have cost most others their job. The apex court had fined Mr. Deshmukh Rs. 10 lakh for stopping a moneylender from being arrested in Vidarbha while he was Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Unless you see usury at criminal rates of interest as a vital plank of rural progress, Dr. Singh's logic was hard to follow. And the Maharashtra government even paid up the fine for Mr. Deshmukh.

The Adarsh scam

In the Adarsh scam, Mr. Deshmukh is one of three former Chief Ministers under a cloud. As The Hindu (June 18, 2011) reported, he stoutly denied having cleared the file on that sleazy deal on his last day as Chief Minister. He also rebutted charges of fudging the records. The courts long ago slammed the CBI for its tardy investigation into the Adarsh rip-off. That vital files keep vanishing has not helped the baffled sleuths in their task.

Last week, the BombayHigh Court said Vilasrao Deshmukh “clearly misused his official position as a Chief Minister of a State.” This was in connection with a deal struck by the Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation while he was Chief Minister. The deal, a “joint venture,” gave Subhash Ghai's film training institute, Whistling Woods, possession of 20 acres of prime real estate at rock bottom rates. “We clearly disapprove the conduct of Respondent No. 7 [Vilasrao Deshmukh] …”, said the court. It rapped him for the role he played “in the entire proceedings leading to the signing of the JV agreement.” The whole deal, said the outraged Court, was “illegal, arbitrary and without authority of law.” But Mr. Deshmukh's track record defies the laws of gravity, leave alone those of the nation.

In December 2010, Justice A.K. Ganguly of the Supreme Court admonished Mr. Deshmukh in scathing terms in the moneylender case. In his judgment, Justice Ganguly said he found the message it conveyed “extremely shocking and it shocks the conscience of this Court about the manner in which the Constitutional functionaries behaved in the State of Maharashtra.” (Justice Ganguly is no stranger to shocking things and was more recently on the bench which gave that historic verdict in the 2G scam). The judgment went on to say “it is clear that the Chief Minister was aware of various complaints being filed against the said family [the moneylenders]. Even then he passed an order for a special treatment in favour of the said family which is unknown to law.”

Moneylender case

The judgment noted that Mr. Deshmukh's action “amounts to bestowing special favour to some chosen few at the cost of the vast number of poor people who, as farmers, have taken loans and who have come to the authorities of law and order to register their complaints against torture and atrocities by the moneylenders.” And so Mr. Deshmukh set another record. It is hard to recall when a Cabinet Minister and former Chief Minister was punished and fined this way by the highest court of the land.

Prime Minister Singh's response? He promptly elevated the man blasted for protecting moneylenders in his State to a portfolio that put him in charge of rural development across the whole country.

Close to 30,000 farmers committed suicide in Maharashtra during Mr. Deshmukh's eight years as Chief Minister. That is more than half the total of 50,481 farm suicides the State has seen since 1995, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. It was in Mr. Deshmukh's time that Maharashtra emerged the worst State in the country for farmers' suicides. And that, for a decade without a break.

Farm suicides

Before his reign began, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh were doing a lot worse in some years. Today, Karnataka, the State with the second highest number of farm suicides in the country, has a total that is 15,000 less than that of Maharashtra. In 2006, the height of the Deshmukh raj, his State saw 4,453 farmers take their own lives. No other State has ever logged a more heart-breaking figure.

But the only blip on Mr. Deshmukh's record till 2008 had nothing to do with all this. He did lose his chief ministership for 22 months in 2003. But that, as his website puts it, was due to “factionalism in the state unit of the party.” He bounced back stronger with the full backing of the Congress at the Centre. In the 2004 polls, he promised cotton farmers in both Vidarbha and his own Marathwada region that he would raise the minimum support price for cotton by Rs. 500. He did exactly the opposite on being elected, withdrawing the “advance bonus” of Rs. 500 that cotton farmers were receiving till then. The move tanked prices, hit lakhs of farmers and saw distress sweep the cotton countryside.

On the farm suicides, Mr. Deshmukh saw himself as gentle and caring. As he told the Hindustan Times (October 31, 2007): “Committing suicide is an offence under the Indian Penal Code. But did we book any farmer for this offence? Have you reported that?” He went down to Vidarbha to soothe the offended peasants, in the company of the redoubtable Mr. Vaghela. His healing touch came in a speech suggesting the farmers were lazy and less than honest and this was the cause of their problems. As outrage spread, he asserted he had been “quoted out of context” (The Hindu, September 15, 2007).

In his last three years as Chief Minister from 2005, the State lost 2 million jobs according to the economic survey of his own government. That is, Maharashtra lost on average 1800 jobs every single day. And that was well before the global economic meltdown struck in September 2008. (Oddly, the labour portfolio at the Centre wasn't given to him for this achievement. Or maybe it was and he turned it down as small potatoes. Maybe Prime Minister Singh's call now for more labour ‘reforms' is a signal to him that this beat is his for the taking).

None of this, however, cost him the chief ministership a second time. He might even have survived the clamour for his head after the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. But Vilasrao thought it a smart idea to visit the terror-shattered Taj and Trident Hotels with his actor son and the Bollywood filmmaker, Ram Gopal Varma, in tow. Doubtless the tragic events threw up a rich vein of cinematic potential. Public outrage saw his party hand him the pink slip.

A lesser man's career might have ended there. But Mr. Deshmukh is not a lesser man. His success mounts in inverse proportion to his achievements. After a brief sojourn nowhere, Mr. Deshmukh entered the Union Cabinet as Minister for Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises in May 2009. After the scathing Supreme Court judgment, he was made Union Minister for Rural Development. And in the last reshuffle, he became Minister for Science and Technology.

Cricket association president

He is nothing if not versatile. While tackling the duties that portfolio imposed on him, he found time to get elected president of the Mumbai Cricket Association. He defeated cricket legend Dilip Vengsarkar to grab the post. Unlike the latter, his love of the game was more detached, less direct. Mr. Deshmukh has not played cricket at any significant level. (It is not known if he represented Babalgaon at the sport).

He also became the Minister for Earth Sciences (which, as often pointed out, is seen in his home State as jargon for real estate expertise). Jealous detractors say it is his raising this sector to the level of a science that makes him priceless to the Congress. But he is useful to them in many ways beyond this, for few are left in that party who understand the internal dynamics of its rivals in the State as he does. So where does he head next, now that the Bombay High Court has added another decoration to his war record? Chief Minister of Maharashtra? Watch this space.

More In: Sainath | Columns | Opinion | Lead

Mr. Deshmukh increased the FAR limits of many plots in Mumbai for many builders and asked them to be good donors to the party. They had to comply. This money was much needed by the Congress treasury. The many years he was in power, this system held him in good stead with Delhi. The builders grew and so did their clout. Today, his relationships are still benefitting Congress. So, he has to be accommodated. No matter what! Its simple. Give and take!

from:  Indraneel
Posted on: Mar 19, 2012 at 11:12 IST

Each article you write is powerful, engaging and if someone wants to use
it correctly, precise and hard hitting, Mr. Sainath;
Hope the powers, read some sense that is written and take action;
I have no hopes of a certain Dr. MM Singh, poor fellow too weak and
burdened by "responsibilities" on his shoulder by his high-command; and regarding Mr. Deshmukh, I have faith in the law of Karma, only in
that faith can anything be hoped to be done...

from:  Aditya
Posted on: Mar 9, 2012 at 13:11 IST

Eye opener by Mr.Sainath ...
Maharashtra has always been ruined by dirty ineffective politics of
politicians like pawar,deshmukh,thakre's etc. May people of the
maharashtra get to know more about the internal political affairs of the
state so that we can elect the one who runs well rather than ruins well.

from:  Ravinder
Posted on: Feb 28, 2012 at 21:54 IST

As usual Mr.Sainath has given justice to his profession i.e. Media, fourth pillar of democracy. However if judiciary i.e. one of the four pillars of democracy would have acted promptly and as per the land of law then the article would have not found the space. The people of India are deprived of justice including those who went to Judiciary in a case of Mr. Deshmukh. Judges should avoid making any stringent remarks against anybody like politicians without any punitive order. Their job is to punish/penalise the guilty people as per the land of law and relieve innocent people. The Supreme Court Judge who ordered to pay fine of Rs.10 lacs to Govt. of Maharashtra i.e. citizens of Maharashtra should have punished Mr.Deshmukh personally, as he misused powers. Is it not the judge misused powers to penalise people of Maharashtra that too without any such law of land? The judiciary, which is inefficient, biased and casteist, is wholly responsible for this state of affairs of India.

from:  Anand B
Posted on: Feb 20, 2012 at 04:09 IST

Truth is always bitter and Sainath has done good research to write this article. But do we, all Indians get influenced by these factual writings, books, articles or exhortations of Mr.Katju ? Certainly not! Otherwise India shall not live in dirt and filth, the way we are increasing BPL cards, new quotas etc. The most important thing all people have to realize is the 'Value of their Vote' which is more important than the value of a rupee.

from:  Vyas K Susarla
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012 at 20:34 IST

Kudos to Mr. Sainath!!! Only a newspaper of The Hindu's calibre could have come up with such a daring article. I always used to be amused at the 'punishment' meted out to mr. minister after his name came up in the Adarsh housing scandal. But isin't it public knowledge that in congress, loyalty to the first family and how expendable one is matters more than anything else?

from:  Saurabh Jha
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012 at 18:09 IST

i thank THE HINDU for staying ahead of TIMES,sainaths aricles have being well resarched. he hits the nail in its head. alas what to do, the so called we the people, walk the talk, devils advocates, never bothered to question these people. Its only through the the hindu we get correct information abt the state of the nation,.

from:  chetan
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012 at 13:42 IST

I read all the authors articles and they are all really good. But,
now I started to feel, we should also write about why such corrupt
politicians are such a hit. I mean, we need to see why Congress is
not able to look beyond Mr.Deshmukh? Clearly this guy has something
useful to Congress, if so what and then the process has to be
attacked. Attacking people is a waste of time and energy. It would
be more useful to have articles with research on the political compulsions and processes that end up creating these situations.
What are the socio-economic, anthropological, psychological reasons
for this state of affairs? Can they be changed?

from:  Ajay K
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012 at 10:44 IST

Excellent piece of journalism!!! But I have a different view here, almost every minister has a similar story, just differ in magnitude. Condemning them or voting them out of govt. won't help because the other one who takes charge also belongs to the same class. Almost everyone who is condemning them or their actions here or in any other such forum will also use his power selfishly if he it gets one day, more or less, which is plain truth. It won't help because they won't change, we shouldn't expect them to change, its the way they have become, their minds rotten with corruption. The only thing we can do about it is to save ourselves from these evils, to be strong enough that power doesn't corrupt us.

from:  Manoj R
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012 at 09:55 IST

Mr. Sainath's article has extraordinary courage of conviction and is a
well researched one at that! My hearty congrats to him and this news
paper for educating the citizens with out fear or favour to a
heartless Government!! Comments from readers like Srikant of Pune, as
above, are ones with self interest above the Public good and can be
safely ignored. I have been a vivid reader of this author purely based on his understanding of the issues at hand and the effort he puts in researching the matter to educate the public in an unbiased way. It is difficult to understand the logic of our PM, Dr Singh, to
promote him despite all adverse things. Perhaps the writer did not
touch the case of Hasan Ali, the stud farmer of Pune who has been
under investigation for money laundering for the last three years and
the confessions he was supposed to have made on video to the
investigating authorities during the reign of Mr. Deshmukh! \
Congrats again to Sainath for this gem of an article.

from:  PS Nath
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012 at 09:40 IST

Even-though I have great respect for Mr. Sainath I disagree with this article because attacking a branch when the whole tree is rotten is a futile exercise...especially when that branch happens to be from the state of people do not have the time to join Anna's protests,they do not have time to vote but announce a concert by Lady Gaga or a cricketer making a public appearance and the number of people joining these events is to be seen to be blaming politicians is useless.It's we the people who deserve such politicians and hence have such politicians.Long live the King or should it be the Queen?

from:  Mahesh Tumpalla
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012 at 08:05 IST

Brave article!!!! for the information of reader, that moneylender which was guarded by Mr.Vilas Deshmukh, is also a MLA from Congress.

from:  Amit
Posted on: Feb 19, 2012 at 01:57 IST

Shame on Mr.Vilasrao Deshmukh because of you Maharashtra is lagging behind, its prospering neighbour Gujarat, that has taken over Maharashtra in every field. Mr.Deshmukh cannot be called as a national or state leader for it seems that his personal and family welfare is more important for him than the state or nation, being a favourite of Mrs.Gandhi not even our P.M can dare to remove him or expel him from the party. Making such person a minister in the union govt., it is a corruption bigger than the 2G scam. Thanks Mr.sainath and Hindu for disclosing the corruption.

Posted on: Feb 19, 2012 at 00:24 IST

Simply applaudable article. Very well researched. It would be awesome if
every politician was exposed like in this article. Right from Pratibha
Patil to the the IAS officers.

from:  prajakta
Posted on: Feb 18, 2012 at 18:20 IST

Hats off Sir. The rules are indeed ironic. Electoral changes like minimum
voter turn out percentage, Right to Reject & Right to Recall are need of
the hour.

from:  Venu Gopal Reddy Muvva
Posted on: Feb 18, 2012 at 15:59 IST

I highly appreciate the contents of this write-up! Proud of this kind of journalism! Sad of this kinda politics.

from:  Mini Virmani
Posted on: Feb 18, 2012 at 15:10 IST

Again a great eye opener By P.Sainath. If the top politcos of the
country can still go on fooling the masses inspite of their obvious
double standards. The future does indeed look bleak...!!!

from:  Mrinal Suresh
Posted on: Feb 18, 2012 at 15:00 IST

I am embarrassed to say that I belong to this country. Nice article

from:  Karun
Posted on: Feb 18, 2012 at 14:21 IST

Great job, Mr Sainath. It is one of the courageous articles I have read of recent times, exposing the naked truth. It is this kind of journalism that make people still believe in that media is not completely about gossip and glamor. No wonder Justice Katju has special appreciation for you. Keep the great work. Also by publishing such an article, The Hindu as retained the respect it has in heart of the public.

from:  omkar
Posted on: Feb 18, 2012 at 03:51 IST

This is top class journalism! Thanks Mr Sainath.

from:  Pankaj Jha
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 23:58 IST

A courageous and well researched article by the redoubtable Sainath. In a Chetan Bhagat book, by way of gallows humor, a mention is made of why disaffected souls from every segment of society are forced into taking their own lives but never a politician - because the latter has no feelings! It takes a very thick skin to respond to farmers' suicides in the way the minister is reported to have responded. May be we are missing something here, that to be totally insensitive and without a prickly conscience is the basic attribute of a politician in these times. I do not blame Sainath for converting us all into cynics unless we move our attention away from pols and engage with ordinary men and women living their humble lives.

Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 22:24 IST

Outstanding article. As always. You cannot expect anything less from one belonging to the most endangered species on the planet - that of good, honest and humane journalists.

Hats off, Sainath sir.

from:  Kisholoy Mukherjee
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 20:38 IST

Again a well reserched article By P.Sainath. I am amused and surprised, that non of this was ever debated in our Much hyped TV Media. I hope TV media will will discuss this once Priyanka Show is over in UP.

from:  Satyajit Kumar
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 19:23 IST

Amazing article! Mr. Deshmukh, shame on you!

from:  Ajay
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 18:42 IST

Ugly face of politics. What a shame. How can congress boast of being a party of common men? This tells us that if you can get few votes for your party then no matter how corrupt and insensitive you are, you would be rising sun in politics. Lets not forget what BJP did in Karnataka. I could not understand why they took so much time to sack BSY. It seems that every party is in rat race of being more corrupt.

from:  himanshu shekhar
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 18:29 IST

Well researched article by Mr.P.Sainath.
If electoral system permits Mr.Deshmukh to contest elections the who are to be blamed?

from:  Viji N
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 17:50 IST

For the first time I saw sainath article which speaks truth, even
though the fear is implicit.
Sainath has left a big blank for the readers to guess how Deshmukh
gets support to reach these heights. Even an ordinary marathi knows
about his obedience to Sonia. With the servitude to the ruling dynasty
(typical of some upper caste brahmins) he has presented the Sonia
family with all the money he looted from poor farmers of Maharastra.
Even Shivsena is far better from congress of Vilas Rao Deshmukh. That
is precisely the reason why RPI is with Sena BJP combine and not with
the secular team.

from:  suneer abdurahman
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 17:32 IST

marvelous article this is a slap on congress and deshmukh, but it is
very difficult to educate the rural people of the state, no marathi
paper will dare to publish this article, i am entreating you Mr Sainath

from:  Boya Venkatesu
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 17:04 IST

Under Article 299 of the Constitution of India, any contract or agreement has to be executed in the name of the President of India or the Governor of a State. It is no where provided that a Chief Minister should sign as an attesting witness. The media which made disproportionately big issues of "watching" privately in a "public place" so-called obscene MMS / videos, and inspite of the erring MLAs resigned within a day, the same Media is maintaining deafening and screaming silence about such a grave Constitutional impropriety. Whether Media personnel do not have even a copy of the Constitution?

from:  anil kumar tandale
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 16:58 IST

Another example of how insensitive our ministers are to the plight of common man. Poor farmers, the very backbone of our still largely agriculture based economy are left on their own. How can a person who spends his whole day in air-conditioned environment, call a farmer lazy while he has to toil hard, day and night. If the ministers can't do something to uplift the farmers, they should atleast not blame the very people who provide food to all of us.

from:  Rajeev Saraswat
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 16:48 IST

Everyone knows that Mr.Vilasrao Deshmukh is the hawala dealer for Sonia Gandhi and his ilk. Naturally, he gets a cabinet rank and gets promoted regularly inspite of non-performance.

from:  Srinivasan
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 16:47 IST

Thanks for writing such articles, if not for people like you India would
have already become a declared kingdom of political families.

from:  Amit Kumar
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 16:47 IST

A factual report. This is what the people expect from a media. A complete exposure of a corrupted politician. A man who is completely against people,sports and science gets birth in Union cabinet with an attractive portfolio.That means most of our rules are against welfare,fitness and development. A man like Mr Desmukh ridicules the people who voted for him. What a pathetic condition in which the people are encircled. Mr Sainath you have done a commendable job. No words to describe your task.

from:  Sreenivasan.O.T
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 16:26 IST

Sainath, please throw light on exploits of other politicians in our country.

from:  Sivakumar
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 16:24 IST

Another gem from Mr Sainath. Thank you for this article which brilliantly recapitulates the dubious credentials of our politicians. I wonder if pleas,entreaties or blunt indictments have not affected them, will they even grasp the sarcasm, or will they celebrate it as yet another acknowledgement of Mr Deshmukh's achievement.
Given that we as a country are not given to mass protests or uprising at such blatant misuse of power, the least we could do is to exercise the vote power and throw out such crooks.

from:  Sumit Vijayan
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 16:21 IST

First disclaimer - I dont support either Mr. Deshmukh or the Congress - but I feel the article and the author lacks the understanding of the grassroots politics. This is typical of English speaking middle and upper middle class talk of how dirty, corrupt most of the politicians are. Having spent hours of their time and one-sided brains - then these same people dont find even half an hr of their time to go and vote in the elections (recent example - 46% turnout in Mumbai and even worse in posh societies)
Mr. Sainath - your article is one sided. To understand why Mr. Deshmukh is where he is today - you need to understand the Maratha politics of Maharashtra and what role he plays in the same. If Congress has to survive in the state today facing onslaught of Pawar "powered" NCP - they need people like Mr. Deshmukh. And who cares about the courts and these middle class people anyway? Afterall - they are not the ones who vote and bring congress to power.

from:  Shrikant from Pune
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 16:10 IST

Worth the wait for another piece of work by Mr.Sainath. If we were to similarly dissect performance (promises v/s delivered w.r.t neo-liberal economics)of Dr.Honest Singh (from his planning commission days to PM days), am sure, he will be in the top order of Mal-performance.

from:  Dr.Himanshu
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 15:56 IST

Excellent article!!! Kudos to Mr Sainath for presenting it beautifully . Thanks to Hindu for bringing it to Public notice. Hope someone from marathi press dares these Big Guns and prints it in Marathi. No wonder i love reading articles published by Hindu Group.

from:  Vijay Sharma
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 15:43 IST

Sainath, many times must one tell you, use your creative energy to look for positive things to write...I feel sorry for you while retaining my respect for your work. Your passionate, fantastic writing, clinically unraveling the issues have only made me more cynical of the circus called Indian democracy. The problem is, your articles in The Hindu is preaching to the converts (I hope most of us are). As someone rightly put it, can it reach the masses? Is The Hindu helping in creating a stronger, vibrant democracy or are we the converts continuing to read these articles over a cup of morning coffee and forgetting the citizen's duties by end of the day? Just an introspective question from a frustrated person.

from:  Sriram Krishnan
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 15:43 IST

Want a classic example of materializing the marginalization? Read it. But who cares! Mr. deshmukh? Busy enjoying his accession as Sci. and technology minister and welcoming her new daughter-in-law. Ms Gandhi and archduke Gandhi? Have no time for any state other than UP. Mr. And Mr. Thakre? Busy abusing Biharis and other north Indian. Numbness in leadership is not a strange thing! They don't shed a tear no matter whatever number of suicide. But even mumbaikars have a developed a thick skin. What can we infer from yesterday's dismal voting percentage of just 43% in BMC election? wasn't it a chance for mumbaikars to poke fingers into politicians' eyes to wake them to some sense.
Yes, The HIndu cares, Mr. Sainath cares, readers of The Hindu care!. Mr. Sainath you left the arteries struggling to control the vibration of blood atoms.

from:  Ajeet Tiwari from Patna
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 15:31 IST

@Mahesh J,: Most of the Marathi papers are controlled by congress/NCP politicians. So I don't expect this article or any similar article will be published in those newspaper. There is one newspaper though, loksatta, who time from time try to put forward such things but again loksatta also do not make clear stand. In fact forgive me for saying this, most of the media, including TV channels do not pursue such things where congress leaders are involved. The buck must stop at congress high command. I do not think this prime minister can do anything. It's amazing that he is still sticking to his chair and acting like a hrutarashtra. Sorry state of affairs.

from:  Salil
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 15:19 IST

I think we Indians love to live in a state of history & past glory. We still love to see Congress as ruling party assuming it is the party which liberated India & given great leaders to the country thereby completely ignoring the ground realities. We still see every corrupt claiming himself/herself as farmer/from backward class/former chaprasi etc to be really someone working for betterment of society ignoring his/her track record. We need to wake up & rush to polling booth to elect good leader with little regard to his political party. If there is no good leader contesting, then better find one from the masses & elect him rather than showing helplessness.

from:  Abhishek Garg
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 15:09 IST

In response to Mr. Ed Hayden's comment: You are too generous in not accusing Deshmukh of matricide. Since we allude to our state and nation as "matrabhumi", the actions of people like Deskhmukh do amount to matricide. I would even say that he is worse than Nero, having combined a matricide and burning of Rome together in addition to his other excesses!
Sadly or fortunately depending on how you look at it, people like him will be forgotten by history. There are too many incompetent and corrupt politicians. One cannot possibly keep track of all of them. One would have hoped that the justice system might have found some way to put him behind bars in the short term, and the local press given him some slack for his actions. But having spent many years as a child in Maharashtra, I am doubtful if anything like that can happen there. Whether it is indifference or cynicism, the state seems uninterested in the nefarious activities of its "patrons" such as Deshmukh or the Shiv Sena.

from:  Vivek
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 15:08 IST

I salute Mr. P Sainath, for a lucid column which brings home the sheer corruption in our Politics. Middle Class may fret and fume, but they just don't have guts to challenge the prevailing jungle raj in our country. And that sadly, is the reality. Its just not one Vilasrao, but there is a list of corrupt politicians who only seem to get stronger in our country. So what are you going to do about it. Me? I am not going to watch his son's movies any more.

from:  Shrenik Pune
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 14:32 IST

Congress always preferred sycophants instead of honest and able ministers. As history has shown us, sycophants have a very high eagerness to misuse the power which they get after selling their souls to their masters. It is hard to imagine what secret love is going on between people at Congress “high command” and Vilasrao Deshmukh. is this nature of congress which will eventually lead to their downfall.
A very well written article, I have been wondering this for years long before the Ram Gopal debacle after 26/11 and its now factually proven by Mr. Sainath .

from:  Sami Ur Rahman
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 14:28 IST

thank you for this article..although I was quite aware of the corruption in Congress,I haven't thought that corruption has reached such a level..very pathetic. My favourite line: As he told the Hindustan Times (October 31, 2007): “Committing suicide is an offence under the Indian Penal Code. But did we book any farmer for this offence? Have you reported that?” Totally shocked and amazed by Deshmukh's reaction..

from:  Rahul C
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 14:10 IST

Objectivity demands that the views of the other side should also be published. Why was Mr Deshmukh's comments not sought?

from:  Swami
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 13:45 IST

My deep and profound thanks to The Hindu for publishing this article and
to Sainath for exposing the hypocrisy of politicians in power.
I really hope this article gets to Manmohan Singh's desk (hope however
battered by experience springs eternal). Tragically, politics and
corruption have become synonymous terms in India.

from:  Digvijay Singh
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 13:08 IST

This Article was long time coming!! Cheers to Hindu for bringing it to public notice. He was ousted from CM's post after 26/11 but promptly given a portfolio in the central govt in no time. I donno why even Opposition remain silent. Well done Sainath. Expect you to write someday about other big fishes too.

from:  vikash
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 12:48 IST

A very very interesting read! Hilarious yet thought provoking. BJP could do well to read the above article and realize that if a party which is this corrupt and atrocious can afford to win the elections 2 times in a row, it is only because of BJP's anti-secular policies. Really wish BJP will drop saffron affiliation, win elections and step up for the nation's betterment.

from:  Manoj
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 12:45 IST

Well, rewarding people like Deshmukh, Kalmadi etc. whose success mounts in inverse proportion to their achievements in the words of this celebrated columnist, seems to be Congress' way of grooming leaders from regional to national level politics ! As always, P.Sainath does what he does best, i.e. forthright and candid views throwing light on the rural face of India !!

from:  Srinath M Parthasarathy
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 12:39 IST

Darkness revealed .
Thanks the hindu.

from:  tukuna patro
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 12:29 IST

I sincerely commend The Hindu for a well written article which refreshed our collective memories about the mismanagement in Maharastra and the Central government. What does all this tell about the functioning of the grand old party? All of us must rethink the reasons for voting Congress to power. Is it because we are ignorant about the party's lack of principles and corrupt practices or is it because we choose to ignore?

from:  Deepak
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 12:11 IST

One shredded Deshmukh coming up...Very excellent, Sainath! Much, much needed. Appreciate you putting this bang in the middle of attention.

from:  Vidyut
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 11:54 IST

A brilliant article.I guess i had been reading a completely wrong newspaper all my life. lets spread the message,lets stop people from dying ...we are educated lets fight ..let us die for a cause bigger than our lives ..let start a revolution ...

from:  abhinavbhaskar
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 11:52 IST

writing with fact and tongue in cheek Sainath clearly uncovers the complete lack of probity of those in public office. Surely uprighteousness and upholding the law of the land is part of the oath of office. Can that sacred oath be so completly forgotten after asuming a position ?

from:  suraksha Giri
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 11:42 IST

Like this article. This is a common problem in our democracy. It would be great if writer includes some points to make everyone aware about "how to mitigate this?" Keep it up till 'CHANGE'.

from:  Sameer Baig
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 11:36 IST

The bottomline of this fine article is Maharashtra would have been better off if Deshmukh was not its leader just as India would have been better off in the absence of the type of leadership we have had during the last four decades, to say the least. In India democracy has worked more for the advancement of corruption while in Pakistan it is the other way round. What a shame for both these countries that nevertheless have great potential!

from:  massoud
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 11:34 IST

Sainath is a legend. For decades, he's been calling it as he sees it. If only 10% of our journalists and 10% of our general population were this sharp and aware!

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 11:17 IST

This article just blew my mind away.The facts stated above are unbelievable.The crimes committed by "some" Indian politcians that are being showcased by the media since the last 3 years,continue to awe but this,brief account of "discrepancies" in Mr.Vilasrao Deshmukh's career in Maharshtra,beats them all. The lack of public attention/outrage with regards to this alongwith 46% voter turnout in the recent Bombay civic polls indicates the obvious political disconnect and apathy of the population of Maharashtra;utter loss of hope. Not to mention credibility of Dr.Manmohan Singh as the chieftan to be promoting such subordinates,takes a hit,when even being associated with such members of parliament is a punishable act under I.P.C. Shame!

from:  Deepak
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 10:55 IST

A very accurate biography, if I can call it one, of Vilasrao Deshmukh. Wonder what power he holds with the higher echelons of the Indian National Congress. May be he has the ability to cast a spell over Manmohan Singh, at will. He has destroyed civic and rural life of Maharashtra, which remains one of the most corrupt administrations at all levels. Thanks to people like Deshmukh, the state is run by criminal real estate strongmen, and a corrupt police force.

from:  Balagopal P. Menon
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 10:50 IST

I have been a long time devoted follower of this column and the writer's fearless journey; through Vidarbha where he passionately champions the cause of farmers, or comments on keeping large Walmart type of conglomerates out of our doors-defending small papa-mama run shops, or the performance of Indian politicians and cricketers. In Sainath's articles, I find insight into facets normally easily overlooked; well researched statistical data, laced with a liberal dose of humour. Each article is a masterpiece which endears him to his readers like me.

from:  Sujata Cowlagi, singapore
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 10:48 IST

After reading this i feel ,Congress has no morality to talk about opposition.

from:  Prakash
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 10:47 IST

Hilarious, outrageous and downright depressing. Thanks Mr. Sainath for this gem of a piece. The misfortunes of our nation too mount with the meteoric rise of such insensitive and inept politicians all across the country.

from:  Rishi Sharma
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 10:46 IST

P. Sainath's articles are well researched and unbiased and very educative. They are like the sound of a conch to start the internal war in our conciousness about what kind of people are we as a nation? and what our priorities are? No body could have done a better job of exposing the corrupt Deshmukh than Mr. P. Sainath. Hope we get justice for the tens of thousands of farmers who have perished under his rule as a chief minister.

from:  Radhakrishnan Nageswaran
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 10:44 IST

An analysis of how associates of money lenders, land mafias are awarded and decorated ( for their gallantry(!) of ensuring killing of 2,56,567 farmers being killed in the country. He is very caring towards farmers by not booking a case against them for killing themselves. This caring, people loving person is in the ministry to save our country!

from:  Krishnamurthy Prabhakar
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 10:30 IST

What a shame Mr.minister for earth sciences......? Thanks Mr.Sainath for shedding some light on the intricacies of the politics.Honorable PM, you and your position are held in high regard in this country.Please dont let it bow down because of some irresponsible and corrupt ministers.

from:  srinivas gowda
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 10:27 IST

Sainath has excelled in his innuendos to chronicle the exploits of Vilasrao Deshmukh. That Mr.Deshmukh could get away with all his atrocities, yet get rewarded consistently shows him certainly as no ordinary man; but an extrapolation of this conflicting logic points to a deeper nexus with his party bosses for his success, without which even extraordinary men could end up unsuccessful. Politicians, if not all, have evolved to survive the bitterest of strictures passed by judiciary to return stronger to commit more atrocities even as the drug resistant bacteria emerge more virulent after the drug administration; perhaps due to inadequate penal actions. All parties alike are bereft of ethics and morals. Fear of shame or indictment by Courts no longer affects the politician. It is a vicious-circle that without money you cannot win elections and for money you have to be corrupt; casualty is good governance. Electoral reforms and honest men
of caliber contesting elections are the only remedy

from:  M.R.Sampath
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 10:20 IST

I love this article. Very hilarious. There is no other way to present the case of this Indian National Corruptioncongress to citizens. No one will read the article beyond a few lines. We are aware and sick of the able administration of INC. This whole article I read very eagerly. Wow! what a great person Deshmukh Ji, after all from a humble sarpand grew to work for the upliftment of poor, downtrodden a true Ganhdian. With his son's marriage he proved he is secular too. He should be made the justice minister or minister for amending Indian constitution or even the president. Once in while if Hindu can come up with facts in a humourous style it is refreshing.Well done Mr Sainath for this article. Thank you.

from:  Ayyappa
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 10:13 IST

What an article! Yes, I will watch this space. (Read a news item today that seems to be related to this! 'Arun Jaitley was a key player in BCCI Sahara negotiations.' Well, isn't Arun Jaitley focused on serving the poor people of India through politics? Perhaps, cricket is equally important?)

from:  venkat
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 10:03 IST

LOL!! hillarious... it is not just this minister but an entire cadre which gets promoted in inverse proportion to their achievements :)

from:  VA
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 09:27 IST

He is safe as the civil society isn't targeting him . This reflects a sorry state of governance and grave lack of ethics . I am sure there are many unknown deshmukh in Indian politics and bureaucracy

from:  Ishan Nag
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 09:20 IST

Wow... that was hot. Wish people who vote for him analyse this much. People voting for anyone for that matter must analyse their candidate

from:  Anoop
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 08:39 IST

you are absolutely spot on.

from:  Sunil
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 08:30 IST

Great article dissecting the enigma of being Vilasrao Deshmukh in Congress. Reminds one of the Surf washing powder ad, "Daag Achhe Hain".

from:  Dr. Ratna Magotra
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 07:42 IST

This is what BSY has done and was asked to step down!! Entire media was busy reporting his son's wedding. Excellent article.

from:  Gurumurthy
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 07:24 IST

This is one of the tragedies of Indian Politics. An honest man at the helm like Manmohan Singh, but he presides over a government with people like Vilasrao Desmukh. What kind of logic has led the PM to reward Desmukh for his misdeeds is mind-boggling.

from:  D. Rakesh
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 07:23 IST

Such an article was long due. The Hindu has put a nail in the coffin!

from:  ThePatriotIndian
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 07:17 IST

After reading the above sordid example of "Indian Democracy" at work,
is there is any need to search for the reason for the resurgence of
violent Maoist in large swath of the land?

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 07:05 IST

This is a good example of how the Congress supports corruption and rewards the corrupt. Mr.Manmohan Singh is a puppet and if the Italian lady appreciates the antics of Mr.Deshmukh he has to follow suit. If one looks closely at the Union Cabinet we can see that the Congress is expert in 'putting square pegs in round holes' There may be a reason for this viz. to enable the 'prince' to become the next PM. Of course as it happens some square pegs are expert in milking crores of rupees of the tax payers money under the excuse that he is a Dalit.Yet due to vote bank politics and Ministers like Salman Kursheed the minorities are tricked into voting for the Congress and retaining power much to the detriment of the nation's progress and prestige.The moment the ex-President of Maldives said that China will gain a foothold in Maldives, our Foreign Secretary rushed to sort out matters.Our Ministers can not think independently. We are always reactive and not proactive.

from:  S N IYER
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 07:04 IST

Hilarious! but the subject matter is so grim as to stop me reaping the rewards of the article's hilarity. Come China soon! annex India a la Tibet and show my prayer bead turning, Tilak anointed, forehead-rubbers-at-altars-of-God, descendants of a great civilisation, countrymen how to lead a practical life in the age of Kali for they have broken their spine by rowing their boats opposite to the tide of conduct in this yuga.

from:  Parveen
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 06:58 IST

hindu editorial board,Very well put, salute your sarcasm.
I hope the honest and the prime minister of the highest integrity reads this editorial so that he understans what his honesty and integrity have done to my country. The day is not far when Dawood would be made president of india,after all he satisfies all criteria required for this promotion 1. He is the biggest goon known in the country, so definitely he is elgible for biggest constiutional post in the country. 2. He will also be eligible for the 4.5% quota the secular party is promising in UP. On as serious note, look at the condition of this country. The law abiding citizens are in dumps where as lawbreakers and goons are getting promotions to plum constituional posts. God save my motherland, i doubt if even he can save India now.

from:  Aniket Sinkar
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 06:42 IST

A very scathing attack on Vilasrao. As always, Mr. Sainath's well researched article shows the horrific state of affairs in Maharashtra. But most importantly it goes on to say how the maratha politician are all so powerful and virtually go scot free at every instance.

from:  Sambit Dash
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 05:56 IST

Mr. Sainath,Thank you for the fact based article that strikes at the root of the Congress top brass being completely ignorant (for whatever reason)of an individuals history. Most of Mr. Deshmukh's failures have been in full view of the public. I am not sure how this man and his family live with themselves when farmers are commiting suicide and this family is celebrating a wedding at the Hyatt or somewhere. Does anyone in that family have a conscience?

from:  SriCid
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 04:52 IST

Politicians should get appraisals

from:  disturbed
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 03:50 IST

One might be forgiven for asking if the Minister has any relation to the Julio-Claudian dynasty, say, Nero? I would not accuse him of matricide like Nero, but he does not seem to have any feeling towards his most desperate constiuents. Perhaps the Minister might be seen from time to time in costume and a lyre singing the Sack of Ilium with a brief show of public concern (but with inward irony and indifference). What seems odd to me is that the majority of positions the man has held appear to be appointments? So how many times has this man successfully stood for a properly contested election? And how is that he continues to be chosen for posts when he is either incompetent or ambivalent, or both? He must know where many political "skeletons" are hidden.

from:  Ed Hayden
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 03:12 IST

Excellent account of the minister who gets rewarded for working for the chosen few instead of the larger good of the people. Giving cabinet berths at the centre is directly related to how badly one performs in the state. Among the glaring examples are Lalu Prasad Yadav and Vilasrao Deshmukh. Now let the paper also examine how this Minister (Vilasrao Deshmukh) performed at the Centre to enrich some chosen few instead of the nation. Does not our Prime Minister MMS and the Congress President Sonia Gandhi deserve compliment in giving us 'worthy' ministers like Vilasrao Deshmukh, Suresh Kalmadi and A Raja and scores of other ministers.

from:  Deivi
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 02:02 IST

What suprises and amazes almost every tax payer and citizen of our country is , despite all the scams,atrocities brought out by the media and press on a party. The same political party that is stigmatized manages to win polls everywhere!How can the public be made fools everytime!Let us win ones,only then the game gets interesting.A revolution is needed.Egypt,Libya,Syria,more recently maldives,India needs one too.But in our country its not against a tyrant like the others, its against a bigger tyrant , the mere idea/thought "money making" euphemistically "corruption". The idea of corruption that is imbibed in the blood of all political parties. And the day has come when the government which in turn controls the judiciary has proved us that "a donkey" is "a lion".If "Deshmukh" in hindi our national language means "face of the nation". I think its time we change it as soon as possible,Or lets put on a burqa and be the chickens!

from:  sriprakash
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 01:21 IST

jai ho! what an inspiration.. and pls dont get dr. MMS into this. he is in trance ever since he became PM.

from:  Ajay
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 01:01 IST

Dear Sainath,

Please correct the part where it says Mumbai High Court, because there is no institution by that name in Mumbai. I guess this error stems from being lost in translation. Just like the Marathi speaking cotton farmers.

from:  Ash D
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 00:58 IST

With all due respect Sainath Sir, I give you an open challenge. Pursue any State Marathi Newspaper to print this article in Marathi. I bet, no one will print it. Marathi press is highly biased and your views will never reach rural Maharashra - who elect these babus.
How pity state of affair I have in my state :(

from:  Mahesh J
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 00:48 IST
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