Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister, Mr. Ramrao Adik, has disgraced himself and the country abroad as perhaps no other well-known Indian has ever before. He is the VIP whose atrocious behaviour with two hostesses of Air India on the flight from Bombay to Frankfurt and subsequently with others, including a driver who straight took him to a police station in Frankfurt, we reported in our issue of April 11/12. The report has since been fully confirmed. In the circumstances, Mrs Gandhi has no choice but to ask the Maharashtra chief minister to secure Mr Adik’s resignation as minister and to withdraw from him the party ticket for seeking re-election to the state legislative council which is due to take place on April 17. This is the minimum she can do to demonstrate that there is a limit even to her patience. In fact, she should make an example of Mr. Adik and expel him from the party straightaway. There is no need for her to go through the motion of giving this grandee an opportunity to explain this conduct. The evidence against him is incontrovertible and it comes from sources which have no axe to grind.

It speaks for the depths our political life has touched that Mr. Adik should have reached so eminent a position in Maharashtra. It constitutes a terrible indictment of the ruling Congress party in particular that he should have been a serious candidate for the office of Chief Minister more than once. His weaknesses have been widely known. Certainly they have been known to legislators who have backed him for the topmost office in the state and to the party’s Central leaders in New Delhi who persuaded Mr. Vasantrao Patil to appoint him deputy chief minister. Such a man could never have held an important office in a dif­ferent political atmosphere in which there was the slightest concern for norms and forms. But however low our political life might have sunk, Mr. Adik is a case apart. Stories of his indiscretion and worse are legion though, of course, we are in no position to vouch for their accuracy or otherwise. It is possible to discover an extenuating factor in his favour. But while that might have some relevance in a trial in a law court, it can have none in public life. As it   happens, he has never won a popular election and he cannot claim to be a mass leader. So it is difficult to understand either his appeal to Maharashtra legislators who have repeatedly supported his claim to chief ministership or the willingness of the Congress leadership to consider this claim. Apparently in our bizarre times anything goes. But there must be a limit to indecency even in our permissive age.

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