For Lokpal to see the Daylight, they must stop the Fight!

Voter rage over corruption in Asia’s third-largest economy has spiraled over the past year, as the government lurches from scandal to scandal, including a telecom kickback scam that may have cost the exchequer up to $39 billion. Analysts say mounting civil protests against the government on issues ranging from corruption to high food or fuel prices could mushroom and become a serious challenge to the state, although so far India has not seen the kind of social unrest.

It’s actually a Politicians v/s Civil Society skirmish. But it is being anticipated as a Congress mêlée. Admittedly, the government at the center has to take the escort in ratifying the law, but likewise, the bill has to pass through the Parliament. It requires the approval of all or at least the preponderance of the parties. If the bill does not make the grade in the Parliament, the government would plummet. Is this the rationale why the opposition rebuffed to give their annotations? Do they clandestinely hope that the bill should be crushed in Parliament leading to the disintegration of the government? Will Anna Hazare let the bill be trounced? Why is he not insistent on a rejoinder from the BJP?

Attention as a substitute has been sidetracked to the “approach” by which the government inquired the parties for their retort. Much is being made about the “tick mark” kind of opinions sought. Fair enough. Let’s say that this methodology was erroneous. Let’s say that the government should have asked them to say more on the points put up with meticulous and protracted views. Would they then have given their stance? I doubt it. If they wished for giving their analysis, they could have given it even now. They could have affixed their comprehensive views along with putting the tick marks wherever required.

Let’s glance at the BJP’s response to the government’s correspondence seeking their views. Here are some assertions made in Nitin Gadkari’s reaction:

“Sovereignty lies with the Indian Parliament in the matter of legislation. Therefore views of various interested groups have to be placed before Parliament or political parties which are represented in Parliament through their members so that the parties and eventually the Parliament can take a final view on the matter”… unerringly what the Congress & most right-minded populace in the country has been saying. The BJP, in media, nevertheless has been allocating the consciousness that the Congress does not want to take the standpoint of the civil society activists. In script, however, they say the identical thing as the Congress Party.

“They have now considered in expedient that they must now give their views in a period of less than one week”…so the BJP is articulating that the time frame is quite small. They are perceptibly trying to make it look like the epoch of one week is too short. On the contrary, their representatives emerge wholly geared up on TV debates. Then why didn’t they just inscribe their views down and gave them in? The reason might as well be cashing votes on the downfall of Congress Government, rather than being a neutral opposition and playing its part.

“Expecting political parties to give their views to a drafting committee comprising of civil society representatives for acceptance or otherwise would be upsetting the constitutional propriety where parties, parliamentarians and Parliament have the last word”…The statement shouts out the chauvinism in BJP’s mind and the fact that anyhow if they’d have been ruling the state at present, the inclusion of Parliamentarians, Judiciary and PM would still have been an issue of spar! But the fact to be noticed is how this statement is completely opposed to what they have been saying in their TV Interviews where they degrade the Congress wherever they can as if they’d have open-heartedly welcomed the Lokpal in one go. The statement brings out that the BJP would have considered the participation of Civil Society as ‘upsetting the constitutional propriety’.

The template is by now familiar. A good movement originates, takes shape grows and finally gets lost in the politics of the day. It’s not clear which way the anti-corruption bill is headed now. The present full scale war of words between the Congress and the BJP has little to do with the bill. But it threatens to kill the bill or leave it hanging indefinitely. Worse, it has started reducing the icon of the anti-corruption movement, Anna Hazare, into any other political mortal.

Garima Obrah