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Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Is Now Or Never - Let's Not Mess It Up

Team Being Cynical

Somebody must be losing the plot, if he hasn’t lost it already. At one hand the Congress led UPA-II has made their intentions clear on playing the hard ball and not ready to take any more tantrums lying down while at the other hand the once divided Baba – Anna faction are united post the Ramlila episode and vow to have some kind of Lokpal before this independence day. Failing which Anna Hazare threatens to stage a much vigor and grand scale agitation by going for another fast-onto-death.

Frankly both parties have messed up the whole fight against corruption big time. Call it Ramdev effect or some heedlessness shown by the government at Ramlila ground; the centrifugal concern of corruption seems to have a taken a back seat. Instead what we see now see is a hell lot of unnecessary TuTu – MainMain.

First it was the bizarre and unexpected way the government behaved on Baba Ramdev’s agitation. Big party stalwarts might not agree but the inherent intention of cajoling with Baba initially to have him on their side so that it can weaken the Anna Hazare group was more than evident. This could best justify why Congress allowed four of its top politicians, including three cabinet ministers be parceled to IGI to embrace Baba the moment he touches down. The master stroke went horridly wrong and the fall out between Congress and Baba is for all to see. Divide – and – rule doesn’t always work, more so in this world of technology full with uncountable means of communication. Congress learned this the hard way and acted out of haste to satisfy their self-ego resulting in having Baba – Anna team bonded more neatly than ever. The civil society which is led by Anna and team quickly pounced on the government for their so called anti-democratic actions and decided to give the June 6th Lokpal drafting meet a sleep in protest. The constructive endeavor to have a strong Lokpal is hijacked out of nowhere and the whole effort of thousands seems getting derailed amidst personal and political ego.

That said, it is not that the Lokpal drafting meets were going anywhere either. There were a lot of deference on whom to have and whom not to have in the ambit of Lokpal. The indifference and events were taking nastier turns with the civil society representatives threating to boycott Lokpal if the government doesn’t come clear on their stand on the whole issue before June 6th. The reluctance shown by the government to not have PM, Judiciary and sitting MPs into Lokpal purview hasn’t gone down well within the civil society. The argument is justified when one says; the very idea of having a strong Lokpal is to have these guys (whom the government wants to be out) under the watch dog and if they are not be there then what’s the point in having a Lokpal to start with? For the rest of the corrupted lot the existing law is good enough. While the argument is in all fairness, it doesn’t make sense for one to withdraw from the drafting panel on these disagreements. The issue could be debated, argued and resolved in an amicable manner. By leaving the panel the civil society representatives are falling into Congress trap where they actually want to project themselves a reasonable party while the others being irresponsible and come up with a toothless Lokpal all of their own. As someone correctly said, a wrongly formulated set of rules is more dangerous than not having any rules.

So where we go from here? The Anna team wanted the government to make their intentions clear on whether they want to curb corruption with sincerity or not and the government responded through their actions at Ramlila ground. No wonder an entire agitated lot of the civil society went berserk post Ramlila drama and Anna promptly organized another one day token fast protesting government’s action against innocent citizens. To counter the new formulated attack, Congress promptly bundled Anna with Ramdev and termed him of being backed by RSS as well. Without any delay the civil society started name calling to show who is the boss. With all respect, Arvid Khejriwal could have done better with his words he chose to utter at Rajghat yesterday. But does this one-upmanship lead us anywhere near the goal for which both Anna and Baba are fighting?

Before going further we must understand – Lokpal is our urgency as the politicians are more comfortable without it than having one. That is precisely why the Lokpal is four decades old since it was first drafted but yet to see the light of the day. This is exactly what the government wants – irritate the simple people of the civil society so much so that they leave the panel out of frustration and then let the Lokpal be again sent to a slow cooker and we are done away with the Lokpal for next four decades.

Whether we like it or not – it is the parliament that governs the nation, not individuals like Anna or Ramdev. And unfortunately we have only chosen a set of individuals who seems so oblivious to our plights and concerns. So if closely being analyzed, it is always we who to be blamed for the mess that has been piling on for decades together. We fancy going for a candle light march theatrics with a kilo of makeup on our faces in average as there we will have our miserable faces being captured by media houses but would display a pathetic 25% turnaround in the vote booths the next day as it is very hot and we just can’t tolerate the sun and stand in the queue and second, none of the media be present their to click our photos either. So why blame the Kapil Sibals, the Digvijay Sings of the world alone and why expect the Annas, the Babas of the planet to fight for us? As we have created the mess ourselves, let’s clear it with some urgency and maturity.

As someone correctly said – this is now or never. The opportunity is there to come up with a strong Lokpal. For that we need to keep our egos and anger aside. The government wants us to be intimidated by their continuous harping and lose our core focus so that the crooks remain protected and laugh their ways to their respective banks. It is we who need to protect our composer and don’t fall to the traps which the government wants us to. If at some point we seriously feel the government just doesn’t want any such bill and won’t allow it to happen, how nonreactive we remain, then let’s just do what people of Egypt did. Either we need to remain mellowed down and get our work done or repeat an Indian version of Tharir square and be done away with our legitimate demands. We can’t be both at the same time and expect things to roll. An Anna at one corner of the agitation with a Baba Ramdev at the exactly opposite corner of the tussle with a certain Arvind Khejriwal in the middle is not going to yield much as this is what the government wants us to be – disoriented and easily intimidated by their dirty tricks. Hope I made some sense with the write up.

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