When prime minister Narendra Modi, at an election rally in Delhi, coined the term ‘Jayanthi tax’ as an oblique reference to the costs incurred by projects stalled during the tenure of Jayanthi Natarajan at the helm of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) during UPA-II’s term, it seemed to suggest that the former minister was solely responsible for loss of potential growth. However, it had been alleged even in the UPA days that the social agenda of the Gandhis, Sonia and Rahul, was the fount of the MoEF’s decisions scuttling the projects, which is why Natarajan ignored with impunity the Cabinet’s, and even prime minister Manmohan Singh’s, recommendations that the projects be cleared.
Now, with Natarajan herself admitting that the Gandhis’, especially Rahul’s, interference was more than just tolerated at the MoEF, all those allegations of the Congress bosses calling the shots seem to have been correct. It is clear that the ministry echoed the thoughts of Rahul Gandhi when he had declared to the tribals of Niyamgiri that he was their sipahi in New Delhi (read at the Centre)—at the time, Jairam Ramesh was in charge of the ministry—and this continued even in the Natarajan regime. At some point of time, the Congress party, and especially the Gandhis, will have to come clean on this.