The faceoff: Salman vs Kejriwal

The pitched battle between Magsaysay Award winner and India Against Corruption (IAC) founder Arvind Kejriwal and Indian Law Minister Salman Khurshid shows no signs of ebbing what with Kejriwal taking the fight to the Law Minister’s constituency in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh. What started off as an expose by a leading Indian news channel, Aaj Tak has snowballed into a major political scandal with many players eager to draw blood. It all began with a sting by the channel alleging embezzlement by Khurshid’s NGO Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust by using forged signatures of health officials. The trust is run by Law Minister’s wife Louise Khurshid with her husband being
the chairperson of the trust.

While, it is alleged that the NGO forged the signatures to siphon off money without benefitting even a single physically-challenged person. The amount, Kejriwal says never reached the needy and was instead pocketed by the husband wife duo. The RTI activist further ridiculed Khurshid’s attempts of redeeming himself in his press conference by bringing forth ‘ choreographed-proof’ saying that he would not be surprised if he witnesses turncoats sitting in Salman’s lap as it is Congress government in center and Samajwadi party Government in Uttar Pradesh (state where the trust and its activities
are).

The SP has bailed out the Central government on sticky issues of FDI, Indo-US Nuclear deal etc and hence, it looks highly unlikely that such a friendly state government can be trusted to probe the matter impartially, Kejriwal said. Although Congress jumped into the fray to defend its Law Minister, Kejriwal is going ahead full throttle and is seeking his immediate resignation for his moral responsibility over corruption in his trust.

Despite facing flak for his stubbornness, Khurshid is a seasoned politician and knows how to survive a hostile time. His stoic silence after his turbulent Sunday press conference will give him leeway to weigh his options and then decide accordingly. However, his silence may not be enough to salvage the bruised image of Congress-led UPA government. Now, even Bhartiya Janta Party is facing a tough time and is under public scrutiny over its role of principal opposition party what with Kejriwal doing its work and hogging all the limelight all this while. The party would now have to appear more resourceful and attack government more vehemently as an eager Kejriwal, even
without a party, is grabbing more eyeballs.

What is causing it more heartburn is the fact that Law Minister Salman Khurshid’s alleged corruption comes close on the heels of another such expose by Kejriwal, in which he brought to fore the alleged corruption of Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.

While India witnesses a slugfest, it also awaits more exposes by Kejriwal and an
accountable, answerable and a responsive government.