A Hawala Humdinger
It all began with a protest on January 10 against the transfer of the SP of Katni, a small town about 400 km from the capital. Gaurav Tiwari was allegedy shifted out as he was investigating a ‘hawala’ scandal and was about to arrest certain people close to the new minister for small and medium enterprises Sanjay Pathak (in pic), the threeterm Katni MLA who had recently defected to the BJP from the Congress. Two days later, the Congress and AAP had jumped in with a bandh call. The agitation soon spread to Bhopal.
Within a week, the transfer issue receded to the background as calls for Pathak’s resignation grew to a chorus. But what makes Pathak a party asset in the first place? Why was the turncoat immediately made a minister? Well, for one, his business empire has seen a meteoric rise in the last decade, contributing to his financial muscle which in turn is an important asset in politics. In Katni, Pathak is seen as a saviour of the poor. He himself admits that it’s the business that helps him in politics, “since I am able to help so many people”. But will it help him weather the political storm ahead? Outside of Katni, there’s not much going for him. Public perception is still with the ‘wronged’ SP. In fact, there’s even talk of Bollywood making a film on the episode.