These are days when pots and kettles call each other black with merry abandon. If the pictures of leaders hobnobbing with smugglers and others of the persona non grata kind were disturbing, it is the nonchalance with which leaders have responded that is even more outrageous.
In a land where the common man is driven to suicide, some leaders seem to have no qualms about being at the beck and call of criminals. Such is the degree of intimacy that a smuggler wanted by law can visit the homes of the leaders at will even as the state police remains a helpless bystander.
It all started with a picture of CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan perched atop a Mini Cooper owned by a person accused in a gold smuggling case accused, who also happens to a Left Front Municipal Councillor. Congress and Muslim League leaders pounced, tearing into the comrade and the ‘Jana Jagratha Yatra’ led by him.
The CPM leader brazened it out and local party leaders were blamed for the faux pas. As photos of two Left Front MLAs in Dubai with an accused in a smuggling case wanted by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence surfaced, instead of embarrassment, what came forth was an audacious justification from the leaders. A prominent left-leaning TV commentator went to the extent of observing that gold smuggling is not such a big crime.
However it took less than 24 hours for the tables to turn. Pictures of Congress and Muslim League leaders with the same accused emerged. Sure enough, it was the turn of Left leaders to hit back. The bigger issue is being buried in the volley of allegations and repartees.
The threat to national security and the economy posed by contraband gold are being totally ignored. Equally alarming is the silence of the top leaders of both the LDF and the UDF. They appear unfazed and wish to sweep this unfortunate blip away, at least from the public gaze. Because, being seasoned politicians, they are betting on the short memory span of the public yet again.