Lokpal Logjam

Will the Lokpal logjam ever end? Will any side ever come up with such a formula for the anti-corruption ombudsman agency which will be acceptable to all the stakeholders (Government, Opposition and Team Anna) and to all those who have vigorously followed this movement in the anticipation of a historic legislation (eminent activists, decorated jurists, celebrated authors, the media, freelance journalists and thinking intellectuals like me & most importantly the people of this country)?

What lies in the destiny of this nation, an omnipotent ombudsman, a lacklustre lokpal or a reasonable organization which will function with utmost efficiency? These are questions which are not going to fade away anytime soon as consensus eludes and truce seems too far. The standoff doesn’t seem like ending and this stalemate is heading towards a titanic showdown between Team Anna and the Government. It will take a supernatural effort to dismantle this impasse. As we head towards the conclusion of the Winter Session of the Parliament which will be followed by the third phase of Anna’s mega protests there are certain things which remain to be the basic sticking points.

How will the final face of the Lokpal legislation shape up like? The most basic questions are in connection to the inclusion of the Prime Minister and of lower bureaucracy within the purview of the Lokpal, the fate of the CBI and along with these there are many more contentious issues concerning the Judiciary and the formation of Lokayuktas which are yet to be resolved. And will the Lokpal be a constitutional body as Rahul Gandhi wants it to be? But that also means 2/3rd majority in the Parliament and that requires a genuine consensus among various political parties. How will things finally turn up? I think that this debate is going to rage on endlessly and the answers to all our questions will surely be unveiled in the days to come. Let’s keep our fingers crossed till then.

Team Anna’s Tryst with BJP

In a press conference, Anna Hazare has made public his future plan of action. Anna categorically stated that if the Congress led UPA government fails to get his version of the Lokpal Bill passed in the Winter Session of the Parliament, he will embark on a tour of all the poll bound states and campaign against the Congress. He further stated that he plans to launch a fast in Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, three days prior to the Election Day in case the worse happens.

He further urged voters in Hisar Lok Sabha Constituency of Haryana which is scheduled for by-polls to not vote for the candidate representing the Congress because his party has deliberately delayed the passing of the Jan Lokpal Bill. What is strange is the fact that Anna and Team Anna has tactically singled out the Congress as the party to be attacked and to be blamed for the entire ‘Delay Lokpal fiasco’ at a time when no party in the country is willing to lend full proof support to his version of the bill. Even the BJP which happens to be the prime opposition party of India and a supporter of Team Anna doesn’t support the Jan Lokpal Bill in its present form. Very strategically and opportunistically the BJP stated that it supports the Jan Lokpal Bill but with amendments. This vindicates the fact that the BJP is trying to politically hijack Anna’s movement and is trading its guns in coordination with Anna’s movement but the truth is that they themselves are not in full support of Anna’s version of the bill.

What remains to be seen is how will Anna react and deal with the BJP. Team Anna has been very reluctant to accept any amendments to its version of the bill. It has taken a maximus stand and refuses to budge, bend, reach out or compromise. Will Team Anna claim the BJP’s support at a time even when the BJP doesn’t support its stand fully or will Team Anna launch an accelerated attack even on the BJP for failing to lend unconditional support to its bill?


The Anna Movement – Fast or Fest

Since the past couple of days a Self Selected Civil Society (Claiming to represent 1.2 billion people and ironically comprising of only a handful bunch of individuals) led by a Self Styled Gandhian has been wrecking havoc in a functioning anarchy named India. Whenever genuine or baseless allegations have been leveled against them or whenever doubts have been cast regarding their legitimacy, they have responded sharply and have come up with desperate acts of self defence signifying resilience. Yes, I am talking about Team Anna but I thoroughly unimpressed of the arguments used by Team Anna to justify their actions.

They have time and again stated that they are not doing anything unconstitutional and are only following Gandhi’s footsteps by resorting to activities well defined in Gandhian philosophy and which were even resorted to by Gandhi during the Pre-Independence era. This Civil Society needs to be reminded of a statement issued by Dr BR Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee which weaved the Constitution, to the Constituent Assembly in his concluding address, before the Constitution was formally adopted by the people of India. He said, “If we want to protect, preserve and nurture our democracy then we need to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving social and economic objectives. This means that we should refrain from bloody methods of revolution. When there are no constitutional ways of achieving social and economic objectives then there is a great amount of justification for unconstitutional methods like non co-operation, civil disobedience and satyagraha but when the doors of constitutional methods are open to all then there can be no justification for such unconstitutional methods.” This statement chalked out from the historic address of Dr BR Ambedkar is enough to prove that certain individuals are misusing Gandhian ideology.

Those methods were justified at that time because we did not have a freely elected government then but today it’s definitely not the case as we happen to be the largest democracy in the world. I guess it’s time for Team Anna to put an end to this sophisticated nuisance and another person who is making news nowadays, happens to be Gujarat’s topmost administrator and was referred to as the ‘Merchant of Death’ by INC President Sonia Gandhi needs to realize that fasting cannot clean blood stained hands. Even ‘all the sweet perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten his little hands’ so there is absolutely no point in staging made for television fasts.

The Anna Movement – Anarchy & Commotion

I have written and spoken extensively on the issue of the Lokpal Bill and the impasse which has resulted because of the rift between the Government and Team Hazare. I will once again try to portray the entire scenario as simply as I can and try to highlight the level of silliness associated with this.

Firstly, if you ever raise an issue be it legitimate or illegitimate, required or not required, it will always have its bunch of supporters because there are certain people who are willing to lend support to any campaign. Let’s take the case of the Norway killer as an example. A lot of people and politicians have supported him by saying that even though his method wasn’t right but his ideology definitely was. They support him and say that immigration should be banned. Asians and Muslims should not be allowed to come and reside in Europe. What nonsense is this? Mr Hazare has raised an issue which is indeed the need of the hour. When reckless issues (like the one involving the Norway killer) have its supporters then a real issue will definitely have a greater set of supporters and this is the reason for the massive support garnered by Anna Hazare and this support exists primarily because of the ignorance of the masses. The people of the society are so busy with their careers and family that it is impossible for them to spare sometime to launch a crusade against a social menace. All of us, including Hindus, Muslims, Christians, etc have handed over the reins of our religion to the people of the lowest strata of the society. Pandits, mullahs and pastors are those set of men who have not had the privilege to access any education other than religious education as a result of which there is no substantial reform in our religions because the people who are leading the various religious bodies don’t have enough intellectuality and this results in the same kind of teaching being imparted again and again ie don’t lie, speak the truth, help others, respect all, etc. No mentioning is made by the religious leaders of the role of their respective religions in the contemporary scenario and this is primarily because of their lack of awareness. Religion is a core issue of the society and when the society did not consider itself worthy enough to deal with their religion themselves then how can they deal with a crunch issue like corruption on their own.

They need a demi-god to come and fight for them and this has attributed to the rise of Anna Hazare. Secondly, we all are guaranteed certain liberties by the Constitution but there is no denying that these liberties are many times grossly misused. Freedom of Speech and Expression is one such right which has been most undemocratically used in the form of hate speeches be it Advani’s hate speech, Varun Gandhi’s hate speech or Subramanium Swamy’s recent lethal article. Similarly the right to protest and the right to assemble freely was grossly misused by right wing parties ie the BJP, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena during the 90’s and as a result of this Babri Masjid was demolished and we all are aware of the tense situation which prevailed in the country for the next couple of months after this tragic incident.

Anna Hazare is doing nothing apart from misusing the right to protest and this will accelerate commotion and bring about a state of anarchy. If Anna Hazare is given the permission to go on an indefinite fast then it will definite create a problem of transportation in the area in which he’ll be sitting and fasting. Delhi doesn’t just belong to Anna Hazare, it belongs to 1.75 crore people who have to go to work every day and for the sake of one Anna Hazare, 1.75 crore people cannot go through agony. So the Delhi Police is not totally wrong when it applies sanctions or riders on Anna Hazare and his team. Clear outlining of the freedom of speech and expression and of the right to protest is necessary. Riders need to be imposed on such liberties as and when required in order to prevent commotion.