Mahua Moitra’s log-in Darshan from Dubai lands her in hot water


A political storm by the name of Mahua Moitra has hit New Delhi. While most political observers in the Indian capital are used to seeing the Trinamool Congress (TMC) Member of Parliament asking tough questions in parliament and throwing temper tantrums, this latest saga appears serious. If the buzz in political circles is anything to go by, Mahua could be facing disqualification from parliament.

The Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha will meet on November 7 to consider and adopt a draft report in connection with the cash-for-query case levelled against Mahua by the BJP’s Nishikant Dubey. It is reliably learnt that the committee might take a cue from another cash-for-query case which took place in 2005, when all 11 Members of Parliament alleged to have accepted payments in exchange for their questions were disqualified.

Mahua has been an interesting figure in Indian politics because she has chosen to do things her way. She has made no attempt to fit in the well-defined and narrow contours of what a woman in public life ought to look like or behave. Her Louis Vuitton bags and gossip surrounding her personal life have made her a child of controversy so to speak. Her rantings and ravings in parliament have made her a popular figure, and insiders say that many in the TMC have been uncomfortable with her rising stardom, something that might help explain her party’s silence on the current controversy where she is facing cash-for-query charges.

Her story has all the ingredients of a movie. An ex who decided to leak personal photos which showed her smoking a cigar and drinking champagne; and more seriously, complain to the government that she received cash for asking questions in parliament on behalf of Darshan Hiranandani, CEO of the Hiranandani Group who is based in Dubai; and that she wanted to target and tarnish the Adani Group and then gun for the Prime Minister.

While Mahua is sticking to her guns and trying to battle this out, many fear this could be a battle she will lose. While in the alleged cash-for-query charges, she has demanded concrete evidence, what might stick is her own admission that she shared her parliamentary login ID and password with her close friend Darshan, who then logged in from Dubai, on multiple occasions, to post questions.

She has in an interview admitted that she got ‘one scarf, Bobbi Brown lipsticks and chauffeur-driven car while in Mumbai’ as gifts or favours from Darshan who he is a “close friend”. It doesn’t help matters that both she and the ruling party continue to accuse the other of filthy language.

Mahua’s disqualification from the remaining sessions of the Lok Sabha will be a welcome relief for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since she has consistently targeted the party and its leader. The TMC’s silence indicates that it is unlikely to come to her defence.

But there can be little denying the fact that the Lok Sabha will be a lot duller without her presence. It is after all the very essence of a Parliamentary democracy that you have an Opposition that questions the government. But a disqualification will not be her political obituary, as many are hoping it will be.

She remains a popular figure, especially among India’s middle class, who see in her a woman being attacked and wronged for her personal choices. A jilted ex, a fight over a pet dog, a close billionaire Dubai friend, an alleged cash-for-query scandal, relentless questioning of the Adani Group – the Mahua saga has enough masala to keep the political pot spicy, or burning. How the script plays out is an open question, but I doubt this is the last we will hear of her. – The writer is Executive Editor of