As if there was no dearth of people in Indian politics who are intellectually deficient and who have serious criminal antecedents attached to their name, Sanjay Dutt, an actor who is also known as Sanju baba among his peers, while doing an interview with a TV channel said with a big smile on his face that he would like to become a member of Rajya Sabha.
Sanjay Dutt, who is the only son of the iconic couple Sunil Dutt and Nargis Dutt, has more than his share of controversies and dark spots in his own life. He is well known for having drug problems, in the early stages of his career, for which he underwent treatment at a drug rehabilitation centre in Texas, USA. This was after he had been arrested with 357 grams of cocaine in February 1982 and was sentenced to 17 months imprisonment. He was released in July of that year after only 5 months in prison and ordered to serve the rest of his sentence on police bail. He was granted permission to leave India while still on bail, in order to receive treatment in Texas. He is the same Sanjay Dutt who was given a six-year jail sentence by the TADA court looking into the 1993 Mumbai blast case, which supposedly was planned and executed by Pakistan's ISI with the help of some Islamic fundamentalists.
Samajwadi Party gave a new dimension to electoral politics in 2009 when it announced the name of Sanjay Dutt from the prestigious Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency '“ a constituency represented by none other than the former Prime Minister and a veteran parliamentarian, and undoubtedly, one of the most admired and honest leaders of contemporary India '“ Atal Bihari Vajpayee. We should thank the Supreme Court for not giving him permission, because of TADA charges, to fight the elections. After Supreme Court's decision, different courts in other states also denied permission to some of the candidates with criminal background.
After Sanjay Dutt was denied permission to contest, Samajwadi Party made him the national general secretary of the party. Soon after his appointment, Sanjay Dutt and Amar Singh were talking to NDTV's Barkha Dutt. He blamed Congress Party for his father's death. He said that Mr. Sunil Dutt was very much against the induction of Sanjay Nirupam in the Congress Party and he joined the party against the wishes of Sunil Dutt. He said that his father was so upset with this that he eventually died of heart attack. His younger sister and the Congress MP from Mumbai North West constituency Ms. Priya Dutt has vehemently denied this accusation. He also said that he tried to see Ms. Sonia Gandhi but could not get an appointment. When Barkha Dutt asked him that if he had met Sonia Gandhi and if she had offered him a ticket, would he have stayed with the Congress? Sanjay Dutt's reply was a very categorical YES.
On one hand, he was blaming the Congress for his father's death, and on the other, he was ready to fight elections on the Congress ticket. He also made a statement as to why Priya Dutt was still using Dutt as her last name in spite of being a married woman. He also said that when he was in jail, Congress Party did not do anything for him. His case was sub-judice and anyone who is even remotely connected to the establishment knows how worried Priya Dutt was for him and was doing everything possible to help him out.
Instead of being thankful and showing his gratitude towards Priya Dutt, he was acting as the ungrateful brother. I can totally relate to Priya Dutt's frustration with Sanjay Dutt. Unfortunately, I also have one in my family who is not only totally bereft of culture and devoid of values but also does not have an iota of righteousness. I am still trying to figure out that how can a person who was without any job, totally financially disabled and was helped by me to stand on his feet can say bad things about me. I take solace in the fact that I am not the only one used by this person, he has used and taken advantage of everyone and without any moral inhibitions, who came his way. Sanjay Dutt should realize that Priya Dutt has worked very hard to earn her last name - she is the true heir to Sunil Dutt's legacy. Sanjay Dutt has to learn to make responsible statements. He has to understand that ' my claim to fame is my last name" syndrome is coming to an end in India.
When Sanjay Dutt was offered ticket by the Samajwadi Party, Ram Jethmalani very aptly described the situation - "Dutt does not deserve to be a Member of Parliament and any political party that sets him as its candidate, is totally impervious to the security of the nation."
The year 2012 showed another side of Sanjay Dutt when he totally forgot his criticism of the Congress party in the past and was seen campaigning extensively for the party in the UP assembly elections. His frequent mention of Mulayam Singh Yadav, whom he like so many others calls Netaji and his even more frequent mention of Amar Singh has given way to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Now, he could not stop mentioning Sonia ji and Rahul ji in his statements and even went to the extent of saying that Rahul ji mingles so comfortably with dalits and he has a vision for India. Rahul Gandhi mixing with dalits was probably a very remarkable event for Sanju baba.
I fail to understand why the Samajwadi Party was so eager to give him the ticket. Apart from his status as an actor, what else does he bring to the table? Unfortunately, some of our voting population is so intoxicated by their star image and these actors thrive on public ignorance. A very thorough research about Sanjay Dutt does not even support the fact that he was even able to finish high school. Sanjay Dutt, who aspires to become a member of Rajya Sabha probably cannot even speak on our constitution or any other national topic for even 2 minutes and does not even understand the difference between zero hour and question hour in the parliament. He can be compared to Dharmendra and Govinda who became members of Lok Sabha in 2004. The only difference is that they had no criminal record in their files. As far as their level of intellect is concerned, their IQ level is probably the same. Both were in parliament for 5 years but did not speak, even once, on any topic.
If our political parties are serious about our country's future, they ought to work on the quality of the people who represent their party. Their MPs and MLAs are the engines of their political vehicle and if the ingredients are not of very good quality, the output would also represent their talent. As it is said in the computer jargon '“ GIGO '“ garbage in garbage out. If Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are serious about the future of their party, they should have zero tolerance for ethical, moral and financial corruption. The system is very toxic and the process has to be detoxified. People like Sanjay Dutt and others also have a moral responsibility to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves this question '“ What kind of contribution I can make if elected to the parliament? These kind of political aspirants should realise that politics is a serious business, not a joke.
The word corruption is tattooed on the psyche of most of our politicians. There is a serious trust deficit on the part of the public for our politicians. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the following picture is a true depiction of the sentiments of the general public.
I feel that the onus is on the political parties to select candidates with no criminal antecedents and the candidates should also demonstrate that they have intellect, compassion to work for the people and more importantly, their DNA also has a moral compass. If this happens, it would indicate a paradigm shift in Indian politics.
If this does not happen, we can look up and just say - May God bless India !