Voices Friday, July 10, 2015 - 05:30
In a primetime debate on Wednesday, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra seemed to have thrown his proverbial ace in the hole, calling Vyapam whistle-blower Anand Rai a “Congress Agent”. The ploy works well on primetime debates where allegations fly fast and there is little room for nuance, or even a well-reasoned response in the form of an argument. The person in question (in this case Rai) would be left looking a bit prejudiced, whereas Patra was intended to wear his partisan garb with glee. The problem though was that the barb didn’t stick, this time around. Rai and fellow whistle-blower Ashish Chaturvedi have been members of the BJP’s ideological brethren, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). So a spade calling another spade not a spade does not entirely make sense. Rai has been a well-documented member of the BJP and the Sangh, and yes, has had his political yo-yo moments. In a blog, Ravish Kumar of NDTV showcases Rai’s links with the RSS and a Telegraph piece mentions his attempts to get a ticket from the AAP for the Lok Sabha polls. An interview with NDTV’s Barkha Dutt brings the qualities of both to the fore though. When asked that the BJP was accusing the duo of being Digvijay Singh’s cronies, Chaturvedi responded by saying that he was still an RSS member and worked on their ideologies. What was more interesting is that a bit earlier in the interview Chaturvedi mentions that while he was grateful to the SC for asking for a CBI probe into Vyapam, there should be a probe into DMAT scam in MP, which is reportedly a Rs 10,000 crore bubble waiting to burst. The point being that both Rai and Chaturvedi seem to be concerned with a “greater good”. In our conversations with the duo, they have both come across as prompt, unflinching and startlingly plucky. When the limelight finally fell on them and the English media picked up the Vyapam story, they wasted no time in ensuring that the proper documents reached journalists, and an impending CBI probe would be a testimony of their doggedness too. Let’s face it, it is not easy being a whistle-blower in this country. Especially when the cover-up in question is not one of corporate espionage in a boardroom in Bengaluru or Mumbai. This is the murky underbelly of rural India. And aren't people like Rai or Chaturvedi the ones that the country wants to emulate? Those who can rise above their beliefs and prejudices with a larger interest at heart.

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