'Corruption' gets a newer definition, especially from those in power, when it becomes an issue. Indira Gandhi said in early 1980s that it was a global phenomenon. That was when her name got directly or indirectly associated with some scandals involving financial irregularities. The same explanation was given by G P Koirala when he became Nepal's Prime Minister first in May 1991, and then again, and again. Each time he became the Prime Minister he invariably figured in corruption cases. But G P Koirala acquired such a larger-than-life stature that even after his death, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala and General Secretary K P Sitaula rushed to the residence of G P's daughter Sujata Koirala to defend her son-in-law Rubel Chaudhary, a suspected beneficiary of Sudan scam. Chaudhary has since fled the country, but neither Sushil nor Sitaula have expressed remorse for having projected Rubel-Paras tussle as an act of revenge by the former Crown Prince on Koirala's son-in-law for the role G P Koirala played in turning Nepal into a republic. That was a lie, uttered publicly.
But our latest Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has not said corruption is a global phenomenon. He had, in his own not-so-humble way, admitted that he has either to quit or let corruption reign in the coalition set-up. Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh admitted in the wake of 2G scam breaking out that a coalition government may not crack down so hard when the ministry is a coalition partner. Bhattarai simply says he has all the good intentions, but because he was too absorbed in the peace and constitution making processes, he could not check the corruption that has engulfed his family, his ministry, his government and, through these three institutions, the entire country. He survives in the chair because he has either deliberately closed his eyes on government money being swindled in the name of development, or being transferred to the bodies controlled by the party/parties which are spending the money without accountability and transparency. An accountable system and a transparent government only enhance people's faith in politicians and raise the credibility of politics as well as the peace and constitution making processes. Bhattarai understands this, but as arrogance is weapon, he is simply asserting that because he was too busy with peace process, he could not see corruption spiraling like cancer.
Transfer of government officials, flouting government rules and norms in procurement and key appointments, giving weightage to one's relatives are all forms of corruption, and he is personally neck-deep into all that.
A statesman has to have a vision, that must be matched with the courage, character and conviction to inspire and lead the change. That is what he had promised to do. But 100 days down the line, he says there is so much of corruption and rot, but if you act, things may go in a direction that may spoil the peace and constitution writing processes. That would be a costly definition of the peace process, and entirely unacceptable. Like any of the cowards and corrupt power-hungry politicians, he wants to stick to the power at any cost, and every cost.
His 100 days simply mark the death of a larger-than-life image that until the very recent past meant hope, delivery and potential from a leader with a difference. The myth is dead and gone, it is to be seen how long Bhattarai will survive as PM.