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Vyapam Scam: The Indian Game of Thrones

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By Prerna Grewal

Amongst one of the biggest scams in India, the Vyapam Scam is gradually bringing India’s own Game of Thrones level of politics to light. Being labelled as one of the most sinister scams in the country’s history, it’s something that would make an intriguing plot for a movie or a novel. But something that has scope for existence only within the realms of fiction is indeed being witnessed in reality. It might perhaps rather end up serving as an inspiration for various fictional adaptations.

Ironically, the Vyapam Scam has had echoes in fiction even before it came to light. Amongst the various methods adopted for cheating in the examinations conducted by Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (also known as Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal or Vyapam) and Medical Council of India, the model of an already enrolled student seated between aspiring applicants in order to allow them to copy answers, resembles the model adopted for securing admission in the much acclaimed Bollywood comedy Munnabhai M.B.B.S.

Reports and investigations over time have brought the involvement of a wide network of politicians and officials to the surface. Former education minister Laxmikant Sharma, Governer Ram Naresh Yadav, ex officer on special duty to governer Dhanraj Yadav and Deputy Inspector General RK Shivhare are a few names that stand out amongst this integrated web of corruption. The Congress party has also been alleging Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of being involved in the scam. At the same time, it must also be noted that the scam started during Digvijaya Singh’s term as the Chief Minister.

murder

India Today journalist Akshay Singh who was investigating the scam and the Dean of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose medical college, Arun Sharma, are amongst the latest additions to those found dead under mysterious circumstances. Various figures have cropped up in regards with the number of dead people associated with the scam. While official accounts put the number of deaths at 25, unofficial estimates of deaths vary from 44 to 156, depending on who is making the claim.

As reported by The Wire, “A majority of those who died are from the Chambal region straddling Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Most of the dead were in the age group of 25-30. They were either students, who had fraudulently secured admission to medical colleges after paying hefty sums to touts of the PEB’s bosses, or job aspirants who benefited from the manipulation of recruitment tests”. The phrase “Danse Macabre”, meaning the dance of death, is literally finding manifestation in the contemporary reality.

The entire scenario raises several questions- Is it possible to untangle this mass web of corruption? Does one have heroes like Beckett and Castle to reveal the climax of this real life crime thriller? Is having heroes enough to arrive at a conclusion in a situation where people from all rungs seem to be involved? With reports of state level politicians being involved, why hasn’t a CBI enquiry been approved till now? Why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi, otherwise frequently active on Twitter, silent about this scam?

Like various other scams, big or small, petty politics that’s witnessed every second day is nothing more than a recurrent manifestation of trivial aspirations, greed and self-interest of a large number of people. History can offer numerous instances of devastation by the dominance of one or all of these traits. Memory, however, easily obliterates past and cloaks it with current needs and ambition. One wonders if the negative aspects of history will ever stop repeating themselves. One wonders and is almost convinced that dream of an idyllic reality will always be a dream. Good and bad, white and black, reward and punishment – there is no perfect distribution and disintegration of these categories. It is indeed a grey world.

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Karnataka Polls: BJP On The Way to Win, Congress May Get Hard Defeat

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

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A state of 60 million people, Karnataka is home to the Information Technology hub of Benguluru and was ruled by the BJP once before.
Congress may have to taste defeat in Karnataka, VOA

The BJP was on Tuesday set to return to power in its southern bastion Karnataka as its candidates crossed the half-way mark in vote count, stunning and ousting the ruling Congress and leaving the JD-S at the third spot.

Noisy celebrations broke out in party offices in Bengaluru, New Delhi and across Karnataka as Bharatiya Janata Party nominees were on the victory lap in 118 of the 222 constituencies which voted on Saturday.

This was a dramatic jump from the 40 seats the BJP won five years ago.

The Congress, desperate to retain power in the state amid shrinking appeal nationally, suffered major blows and was ahead only in 62 seats, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trailing in both the constituencies he contested: Badami and Chamundeshwari.

The Congress leader was way behind G.T Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular in Chamundeshwari, Election Commission officials said. And after leading initially, Siddaramaiah fell behind B.R. Sriramulu of the BJP in Badami.

In contrast, the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was ahead of his Congress rival by more than 11,000 votes in Shikaripura.

Energy Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said that the numbers indicated that his party was on the way out after five years in power.

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

The BJP was overjoyed. “We are in a jubilant mood because we have crossed the half-way mark. We are confident of winning,” spokesman S. Shantharam told IANS.

BJP activists and leaders celebrated noisily in both Bengaluru and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting slogans hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their main vote-getter, and party President Amit Shah.

There were also celebrations outside the residence of Yeddyurappa, who has been Chief Minister earlier too.

Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
Karnataka Polls counting suggests big win for BJP, wikimedia commons

The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 40 seats — the same number it won five years ago.

As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in Karnataka while Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.

BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas.

Expectations of a BJP victory in Karnataka lifted the key Indian equity indices during the mid-morning trade session on Tuesday.

Modi’s Performance: Survey Reports That Significant Number of People Rate Performance of Modi Government as Below Expectations

According to market observers, broadly subdued Asian indices and disappointing macro-economic inflation data points released on Monday capped some gains.

Sector-wise, healthy buying was witnessed in banking, capital goods, metals, consumer durables and automobile stocks.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 35,993.53 points and a low of 35,498.83 points during the intra-day trade. (IANS)