A Hawala Humdinger

India Today - - STATE - By Rahul Noronha

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.