Modi’s Ashwatthama moment

The 2G verdict is Modi’s Ashwatthama moment. He has lost the moral high ground.

Modi Ashwatthama moment
Modi Ashwatthama moment

Technically, Modi has not helped the DMK; perhaps no tie-up has been made with the Tamil party, perhaps it was just the ineptitude of government agencies

Politics and social media are abuzz with the theory that Prime Minister Narendra Modi cut a deal with DMK chief M. Karunanidhi on November 6, the precursor to which were raids on 187 premises linked to the leaders of AIDMK, the DMK’s main rival in Tamil Nadu. The result, we are told, is the acquittal of A. Raja, Karunanidhi’s daughter M.K. Kanimozhi, and others in the 2G spectrum allocation case. More is to come, so goes the theory: after the death of J. Jayalalitha, the incarceration of Sasikala, and the endless bickering within AIDMK, there is a vacuum in Tamil Nadu; the vacuum can be filled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has failed so far to have a good footing in the state.

It doesn’t matter whether the theory has any grounding in the reality; what matters is that more and more people have started believing in it; the perception that Modi and BJP president Amit Shah preferred politics over probity and justice is becoming popular, and in politics what matters is perception rather than facts. This is likely to hurt Modi.

He has fallen into what Edward de Bono, the Maltese physician and consultant psychologist, calls the “intelligence trap.”

Whether it was the Modi-Shah duo’s machinations or the incompetence of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate that the accused got acquitted, the government cannot escape responsibility, the stale sophistry of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley notwithstanding. Either the Modi regime was egregiously complicit or grossly inept; both explanations are a damning indictment of the regime. There cannot be a third explanation for the way the prosecution was carried out in the scandal (or should it be the alleged scandal?) that propelled the BJP to power.

Many things have been said about Special Judge O.P. Saini’s judgment, but nobody has questioned the facts he has narrated regarding the conduct of law-enforcement officers and prosecutors. He wrote in the judgment that “by the end, the quality of prosecution totally deteriorated and it became directionless and diffident. Not much is required to be written as the things are apparent from the perusal of the evidence itself.”

Saini talked about the special public prosecutor and senior officers of the CBI not signing several applications and replies were filed on their behalf. The documents were finally signed by an inspector of the agency, who was one of the junior-most officers posted in the court, the judge said.

“On conclusion of final arguments for the prosecution, he [the SPP] did not file written arguments but instead submitted that he would file it only when the defence would file its written arguments. That was highly unfair,” Saini said.

Is this the way Modi wants to make India corruption-free?

In the 2G case, Modi’s conduct has been found wanting on two counts—one strategic and the other moral. He has fallen into what Edward de Bono, the Maltese physician and consultant psychologist, calls the “intelligence trap.” Bono wrote, “Many highly intelligent people often take up a view on a subject and then use their intelligence to defend that view. Since they can defend the view very well, they never see any need to explore the subject or listen to alternative views. This is poor thinking and is part of the ‘intelligence trap’.”

Yudhishthira deceived Drona by making him believe that his (Drona’s) son Ashwatthama has been killed in the war, he literally lost the moral high ground.

Now, even Modi’s detractors don’t doubt his political intelligence; in a decade and a half, he has come from the margins of mainstream politics to occupy the highest office in the country. The trap is about his disdain for any “alternative views,” whether those pertain to governance, economy, foreign policy, or politics. Absolute indulgence in realpolitik and grand moralizing make strange bedfellows; it is to the ingenuity of Modi and his confidante Shah that they were able to iron out their shenanigans like breaking promises and hobnobbing with tainted leaders like Sukh Ram and Mukul Roy. But a deal with the DMK, or the perception about such a deal, has proved to be his undoing.

This brings us to the moral aspect: the 2G verdict is Modi’s Ashwatthama moment. He has lost the moral high ground. The Mahabharata mentions that Yudhishthira’s chariot never touched the ground; it remained at a height of four fingers’ breadth from the surface of the earth. But when prompted by Lord Krishna, he deceived Drona by making him believe that his (Drona’s) son Ashwatthama has been killed in the war, he literally lost the moral high ground: his chariot came down to the surface.

Technically, Yudhishthira did not speak the lie, but the intent was mendacious. Technically, Modi has not helped the DMK; perhaps no tie-up has been made with the Tamil party; perhaps it was just the ineptitude of government agencies that have led to the acquittal of DMK leaders, but the harm to Modi has been done. He has lost the moral high ground. It remains to be seen his actions in the wake of the Ashwatthama moment.

1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Ravi Shanker Kapoor
Latest posts by Ravi Shanker Kapoor (see all)


  1. The author blatantly misguides his readers. He has not read the judgement at all. Had he read the judgement and had some simple comprehension ability, it is very clear from the judgement that the trial ended by Nov 2014 when Ranjith Sinha was the CBI chief and all the evidences were submitted before that by the CBI under UPA. Furthermore, the prosecutors were directly appointed by the SC and the MOdi govt had no possibility to intervene. In 2015, Modi govt and the CBI under him filed a new set of evidences mounting to 15000 pages but the judge completely dismissed these evidences saying that the trial was almost over, CBI under UPA have already filed evidences 14 times and new evidences cannot be accepted. Please read pages 1487 and 1488, paragraphs 1748 and 1749 of the judgement. This misinformation is rpecisely what the corrupt UPA had planned and timed with its moles in the judiciary and people like this author are exactly falling for the same trap. Sad that Pgurus allow such low quality articles to be published.

  2. Most of us (including the Author) are not using our common sense. Politicians are very smart, they know very well what is going to happen in the future and based on that they move their cards. In coming 2019 election, BJP is not going to win majority by themselves, they will need support from regional parties. So, in that case who will support them apart from the exiting parties in the alliance?
    In current scenario, DMK will get most number of seats in TN. So, if any one thinks that “2G” case a failure of investigation agency or PM Modi is not aware of the situation, he/she is not using his/her common sense. PM Modi and BJP used their common sense and played their cards accordingly but we are the people of this country not using the common sense.

  3. Modi has skewed.views on cardinal.fundamental life.He dies not understand that rights cannot be touched by his govt dogs like RBI and agencies.Right is like right has shouted on roof tops that he will bring black money and remove corruption from India.Indian culture is corrupt by psyche .We even bribe God’s by cash.Poor are like gods.why cannot be give money for quid pro quo of leadership.Do you think BJP and RSS don’t spend money to achieve their ends
    wait.fir two years BJP will be no where..Quality of life of majority has dwindled.Corporates like Ambanis Adanis and Bachhans are all subterfuges.

    Wait for further developments.Congress did not harm commonman..despite their corruption.

  4. You have glossed over the real intent, Now you are trying to fool the public into believing that when it comes to BJP it is public perception and when it comes to others they become facts.

  5. I think the author is completely ignorant about TN politics. The raids at 187 places were done on people/firms associated with Sasikala and her relatives(.The ruling faction of AIADMK is happy about it.) They are at the moment not part of official AIADMK. In any case BJP has absolutely no following in TN and there is no election due in the immediate future.. They cannot win even one ward in a municipal election. No party is dying to have alliance with BJP as it would be seen as a liability in TN. In spite of that if anybody wants an alliance it is only because they would like to have a finger in the (central govt) pie. The top brass of BJP is aware of that. No meaning need be read in Modi’s meeting with MK.As the present government has nothing to do with the handling of 2G case, how can one say the judgment is the outcome of Modi’s meeting with MK?

  6. Yes. Perfect analysis. This slipping of law enforcing agencies can never be an unplanned one. Modi could have opted for a defeat in Gujarat than this debacle. His image is dented beyond repairable. Sad. The only hope of common man of Bharath is dissolving in Ocean of Corruption Gang.

  7. What Sipahi said. See the article on this issue in Swarajya. Like the author, I too thought that Modi had lost this but the Swarajya article suggests that things are not as straightforward as they seem to be.

  8. The court put a hold on further filing of evidence as early as Aug 2014,technically prosecution was not allowed to submit evidence after Aug 2014, this was done to not overwhelm the defense with document.

    I don’t think Government could have done anything.

  9. A wonderful article . Hats off to Mr Ravishankar Kapoor for a lucid comparision of Mahabharath episode with the current one.I sincerely wish that PM Modi make amends IMMEDIATELY & regainn his LOST HIGH MORAL ground. Other wise he will be termed as another Manmohan even if he brings Bullet train or any economic development to Bharath. In my view BHARATH ( which is currently Mr Modi) cannot loose Dharma on whatever pretext.
    I wish we start a signature campaign to put pressure on Mr Modi to bring all these tainted politicians to book.


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