The Supreme Court on Thursday put an end to the farcical ‘Rafale scam’ drama and dismissed all review petitions which sought an investigation into the defence deal. The Court also closed the contempt petition against Rahul Gandhi by asking him to be more careful about the comments he makes.
In the aftermath of the verdict, we have the opportunity to look back at the whole Rafale saga and the sinister attempt that it was at hijacking our democracy. The allegations and the propaganda that was hyped were designed with one single purpose: maligning the character and personal integrity of the Prime Minister. It was a malicious attempt at swaying the mind of the voter going into the elections.
The saga also reveals the extent of collusion between the media and a particular faction of the political establishment. Rahul Gandhi and the secular-liberal political establishment invented allegations out of thin air and the mainstream media was more than eager to provide them with a platform to appeal to the electorate with their lies. The media served as the propaganda wing of the Congress party and it used its massive resources to effectively campaign against the ruling government.
In the aftermath of the Uttar Pradesh elections, the mood of the nation was pretty clear. The people were overwhelmingly in favour of the BJP and they registered their optimism on the ballot by awarding BJP over 300 seats in the state assembly. It was clear that the Opposition was in disarray and merely stitching opportunistic alliances won’t work. They needed something more, something that could undermine the image of Narendra Modi among the electorate as an honest man with great personal integrity.
The Rafale Deal was perfect to serve its purpose. By its very nature, the government was not at liberty to disclose all the details pertaining to the deal. Moreover, the details of defence deals are very complicated for the average citizen. And the ordinary citizen is much too busy with earning his or her livelihood, one cannot afford to spend too much time studying one particular issue that does not affect his immediate livelihood in any significant manner. Therefore, on such occasions, the citizen trusts the media to tell him accurately about everything that is happening.
However, there was a great betrayal of the trust that the citizen of this country puts in the media. The politicians with the help of their friends in the media took the country on a joyride. N Ram of The Hindu, at one point, was competing with Rahul Gandhi in spreading lies about the deal. The newspaper not only cropped a ‘dissent note‘ about the deal but also digitally manipulated it. His conduct was perfectly understandable considering the fact that he and P Chidambaram go way back.
Ultimately, it came down to a matter of trust. And during the General Elections of 2019, the people of this country demonstrated that they had more faith in Narendra Modi than they had in Rahul Gandhi and the Mahagathbandhan. Not even the promise of a basic minimum income of Rs. 12,000 per month could sway them from their trust in the Prime Minister. It is an indictment of the media as much as it is an indictment of the political establishment.
Following Narendra Modi’s immense victory in 2019, the media and the political establishment went extremely quiet about the whole Rafale Deal. Now that the elections were over and people had made their choice, Rafale was not an issue anymore. Even when Defense Minister Rajnath Singh performed the Shastra Puja while receiving the Rafale in France, the media and the Opposition had nothing to say about the allegedly huge ‘scam’ that had occurred during its procurement. It clearly shows that there was never any ‘scam’ involved and the Opposition parties and their friends in the media had no dirt whatsoever on the government.
The inevitable death of the Rafale Deal proves incontrovertibly that the supposed ‘watchdogs’ of the government have themselves been corrupted beyond recognition. Maybe there was a time when the media truly was what it claimed to be (I doubt that), but now, they certainly are in bed with one particular section of the political establishment. There’s a reason for this.
The media and the political establishment now belong to the same class: The Ruling Class. As part of the same class, they share a lot of common interests. The people in the current ruling disposition are obviously not considered ‘one of them’. The ideals and the values of the secular-liberal media-political establishment will never be in alignment with that of the ‘Sangh Parivar’ and people in both the competing factions realize that.
Thus, with no viable options available at the table, the media-political establishment essentially tried to pull a ‘coup’ using their combined resources to fool the public on the basis of complete lies and slanders. The media served as the propaganda wing of the political establishment led by Rahul Gandhi while pretending to be neutral on the Rafale matter. What the Judiciary dismissed today were not merely review petitions, it can verily be compared with an attempt at a coup by the media-political establishment.