NORMALLY, POLITICIANS GET off easy in India. Say, the case against Raja is presented in a manner that it doesn’t stand. He walks free. Even a notoriously forgiving Indian elector might find that hard to forgive. It would add to the bad feeling about the UPA, and damn it forever.
2. HAVE NO PUBLIC IMPACT
A WORSE SCENARIO is where Raja’s arrest makes no difference to the public. There have been instances in the past, where it appears that a politician is held to account but is not actually. If this ends up as another charade, Sonia Gandhi’s protestations might not wash.
3. FORCE MORE ARRESTS
SUPPOSE RAJA’S ARREST is a genuine template. There’s no saying how many others the UPA would need to punish, given the alleged scams many of its seniors are understood to be involved in. Ashok Chavan and Suresh Kalmadi could set off a flurry of unfortunate events for the Congress.
4. LEAVE A LASTING BLEMISH
EVEN AFTER 26 YEARS, the Nehru- Gandhis periodically have to weather a Bofors blast. Another slur, of even merely associating with the corrupt, could be difficult to survive. We could be approaching a tipping point, and the first family of the Congress is, by virtue of its public roles, the first target.
5. TRIGGER A BACKLASH
THERE’S A GENERAL sense of distrust about the Congress right now. There are some important state elections this summer and a spark is all it takes for things to unravel. A backlash, like it happened in the 1970s and the 1990s, could set the Congress far back.