Former Union Telecom Minister From Congress, Who Was Accused Of Telecom Scam, Now Joins BJP

With weeks to go for the assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP has opened its doors to Anil Sharma, son of veteran Congress leader and former Union minister Sukh Ram, who was jailed in the country’s first telecom scam, said a report by The Print.

On Sunday, October 15, Anil Sharma confirmed that he and his father had joined the BJP. He also announced that he would contest the Mandi assembly seat on the BJP ticket.

Anil Sharma, who was a cabinet minister in the Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government, claimed that his family was being “ignored” in the Congress and his last straw was not being paid attention in the recent rally organised by Rahul Gandhi in the Mandi district.

Sukh Ram, 92, had been a bitter rival of Virbhadra Singh for decades. He did mend the broken chords with his old arch-rival, after retiring from electoral politics in 2004. But the old feud is back in the open. Reacting to the latest development, Virbhadra Singh said, he was not “surprised.”

He also said that the exit of the father-son duo from the Congress was expected. He added that Sukh Ram had a reputation of switching loyalties. The CM further added that Sukh Ram is the first well-known “Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram” in Himachal Pradesh, according to a report by the Business Standard.

Sharma was the rural development minister in the Virbhadra Singh government. BJP is yet to release its candidates contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Himachal Pradesh.

Who is Sukh Ram

Sukh Ram was born in a particularly not well-to-do Brahmin family in Himachal Pradesh, in 1927 and he had rags to riches life. He was a struggling lawyer who took to politics and made it good in it. Sukh Ram represented the Mandi Assembly seat from 1963 to 1984. He also served his term as a junior minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government. He served as a minister of state for defence production and supplies, planning, food and civil supplies. In 1991, he was the union minister of the state of the communications portfolio.

Mother of scams

The former telecom minister Sukh Ram was awarded five years of imprisonment by a Delhi Court, after being convicted of taking Rs three lakh as bribe to give a lucrative contract to a private firm in 1996. Special CBI judge R P Pandey also imposed a fine of Rs four lakh on Sukh Ram who held the Telecom portfolio in PV Narasimha Rao’s cabinet, said a report by the Firstpost.

Sukh Ram was held guilty under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Various offences under which he has been convicted entail a maximum sentence of 7 years of jail term.

He was held guilty of misusing his official position during his tenure as Telecom Minister in the award of a contract worth Rs 30 crore to private firm Haryana Telecom Ltd to supply 3.5 Lakh Conductor Kilometres (LCKM) of Polythene Insulated Jelly Filled (PIJF) cables to the telecom department. Sukh RAm launched his own party, Himachal Vikas Congress after being thrown out of Congress in 1997. The party won five seats in the 1998 assembly polls. It helped BJP which was short of a majority to form the government under Prem Kumar Dhumal. Later, in 2004, the party merged with the Congress.

A Brahmin mass leader in his own right, Sukh Ram remained a serious contender for the CM’s post in the state. But as Brahmins vs Rajputs politics played out in the state, Sukh Ram shifted to the Lok Sabha in 1984 and Virbhadra took the centre of the stage in the state.

Mandi district is Sukh ram’s traditional stronghold and his family has considerable influence over the assembly seats in the region. Whereas his son, Anil Sharma

The Logical Indian Take

The Bharatiya Janata Party opening up its doors for corrupt politicians and to their kith and kin sends a wrong message to the common masses of the country. It also tarnishes the image of the party. Such politicians with pre-recorded activities pertaining to corruption, if elected and brought again to power, might as well delve deeper again into corrupt activities by using the power of their position.

The lawbreakers today are now the lawmakers and they do not allow the parliament to enact sufficient laws to effectively administer the country. The parliament loses the moral authority to legislate laws.

A party leader should be someone whom his followers from the common mass can look upto. He should not be someone who has been involved in bribery and such other heinous acts. The Logical Indian community condemns BJP opening up its doors to such persons who have been engaged in corruption previously. Persons with such proven background of corruption must not be allowed to contest elections once again.

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Editor : Swarnami Mondal Mondal

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