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How the “civil” society got its groove back

Reproduced from http://barbarindians.blogspot.com

Most of us have heard this fable in one form or another:

A patient came from afar to see a doctor. After a thorough examination, the doctor asked him to come back the next day for his prescription. The patient was a bit peeved – “Doctor, couldn’t you give me my prescription today? I come from far away”. “Nope”, said the adamant doctor. The next day, when the patient arrived, the doctor prescribed him some ordinary vitamins – and oh, by the way, he must go on a strict sugar free diet. The patient was visibly rueful that just for this he had to make a second trip, but he thanked the doctor anyway, and left. The doctor’s assistant felt curious about this, he had known the doctor to be a very reasonable man. “Doctor, I am curious, why did you make him come back again? Couldn’t you have prescribed this yesterday? Poor fella had to make the long trip twice”. The doctor smiled enigmatically. “You see, yesterday I had several boxes of sweets sent by my classmate right here in the chamber. It would be a bit odd to ask the patient to go on a sugar free diet, wouldn’t it?”

After successfully subverting the democratic process of elections and converting the entire policy debate into a “civil” society led agit-prop movement for over a decade, the Congress party now expects the people to suddenly become fond of democracy and constitutionalism and start hating “civil” society. Right. That is working really well.
Let’s take a brief look at the dangerous road to anarchy the Congress party has led us down:
A “civil” society body called the NAC – completely illegal and extra-constitutional, now runs major policy decisions. The members of this NAC are hand picked from a group of Sonia Gandhi loyalists and dangerous subversionists, with manifest links with both the Maoists and now as it has come to light recently, even Pakistan’s ISPR. Just check out news reports – NAC is everywhere. Sonia Gandhi is the self-styled permanent chairman of this body, with no term limits and no provision for her removal.
=> The constitutional experts who sprouted after Anna Hazare’s fast started ostensibly had no reason to worry about this dangerous subversive institution.
After 2004, the Congress party led state Governments and not to mention the Central Govt has indulged in a massive orgy of loot. While #2G, CWG and the Adarsh remain the iconic scams against which public ire is directed, a brief look at the situation at Andhra Pradesh provides a worrying picture of hidden scams from which Congress has successfully dissociated itself. Former star CM of AP and the late YSR’sson’s house is being raided by CBI, this sordid chapter has revealed just how much the Congress party looted from Andhra Pradesh. The whole state now resembles a Jesus camp.
=> Media and public intellectuals simply did not find it worthwhile to dig into the AP story and nail the lies while camping out in non-Congress states for sniffing out even minor transgressions. Try convincing the Anna Team why we don’t need a Lok Pal?
Despite their self-proclaimed and oft repeated claims of love for Dalits, the contempt they have shown for Mayawati simply boggles the mind, including planted stories of rape. The Congress party and its media contingent descended in full force (accompanied by a small battalion of “civil” society activists) in a quaint UP hamlet and tried to scuttle a land deal. The Gandhi dynasty scion did his second best impression of Naavi Prince after Odisha and needless to say got completely friendly coverage in the media and hailed by activists. Meanwhile, the Congress run state Govt in Maharashtra was shooting at agitating farmers. The latter news was mostly blacked out.
=> We would like to hear from the suddenly democratic Congress intellectuals exactly why is politics of agit-prop bad? What would they like to tell Team Anna about why Rahul Gandhi defying 144 is constitutional and a-okay while Team Anna wanting permission to hold a rally dangerous?
A famous Diva journalist of a top news channel enthusiastically covered the “Arab Spring” earlier this year. She was nowhere to be seen at the Ramlila grounds. Overnight she had become a champion of stability, democracy etc. Too bad for her, because her credibility had been shot to pieces in the Radia tapes controversy. The entire MSM seemed to be completely depressed over the whole affair. Unfortunately for them, they had already been exposed for hunting with the foxes and running with the hare. Too late.
=> It would be interesting to see these morally compromised and corrupt individuals of media do a debate with Team Anna about why media should or should not be under the Lok Pal.
Let us take a look at the Bills the Congress party itself has in the pipeline. These include the Right to Education (RTE), Right to food, Communal Violence Prevention (CVB) and Land acquisition bill. Each of these bills were written unilaterally by the NAC. Each of these bills suffer from the same problems – amorphous and skewed selection process, massively anti-reform, creates gargantuan bureaucracies, hands out enormous powers into the hands of a select few individuals, destroys federal structure, has the potential to create major communal rift. All these bills also contain a spawn clause – i.e. the commissar can create new rules as he deems fit. The CVB does not even entertain the possibility that Hindus can be victims of communal violence. It also does not specify the conditions under which the extra-judicial powers can be exercised. If boys playing street cricket breaks a Church window, Harsh Mander can walk in and take over that district. Worse, if the minority community feels peeved at some movie or book (which they often do), even then Harsh Mander can walk in. Prevention, see? Does not matter who initiates or starts burning trains. The gist of the Right to Food bill is to divvy up foodgrains into communal quotas and don’t you dare touch the minority pot!
=> Now, what were the points again about the Lok Pal being too powerful, can undermine democracy etc.?
The Congress party has led us down the garden path and converted the country into a giant NGO, a carnival of continuous discontent, intrigue and subversion. They have been completely aided and abetted by country’s top intellectuals who have not spoken up even on a single instance of countless transgressions of their favorite political outfit – worse, they actively cheered them on. Now that the shyte has hit the fan, Congress intellectuals should just hold their Padmashris in their hands and spare us the sanctimony.
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On Secular Fatwas

A very balanced article on double standards of “secular” activists! – Moderator

MADHU PURNIMA KISHWAR, TNN Apr 22, 2011, 12.00am IST

The disdain with which leading lights of the anti-corruption movement – Mallika Sarabhai, Medha Patkar, Kavita Srivastava et al – are publicly threatening to dislodge Anna Hazare from the leadership role because he praised Narendra Modi’s rural development work in Gujarat indicates that the poor man was only being used as a convenient symbol that can be discarded as arbitrarily as he was chosen to lead the ‘movement’.

Human rights activists can retain their credibility only as long as they remain steadfastly non-partisan. To the person killed, it matters little whether the murderous mob was shouting ‘Lal Salaam’, ‘Har Har Mahadev’ or ‘National Unity’ as did the mobs that massacred over 10,000 Sikhs in north India following Indira Gandhi’s assassination. However, the secular brigade shows a consistent soft corner for those who kill under the Maoist or communist banner as well as those who verbally profess secularism.

Narendra Modi’s acts of commission and omission during the 2002 riots deserve the strongest of condemnations. Those crimes need to be impartially investigated and the guilty punished. Just as we are proud that our democratic system ensured a fair trial even for a publicly identified ISI-associated terrorist like Kasab, so also we should let the courts take the Gujarat trials to their logical conclusions.

Those who ask for Modi’s head would do well to remember that hordes of Congressmen in Gujarat gleefully joined the BJP and RSS goons who went around massacring innocent people.

The overall track record of the Congress in this matter is no better, if not much worse, than that of the BJP. In addition to the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in north India, it masterminded numerous other riots through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. None of the killers of politically engineered riots in Meerut, Malliana, Bhiwandi, Bhagalpur, HyderabadMumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat and scores of others were ever punished. The Congress also injected terrorism into Punjab by its covert support of Bhindranwale’s Khalistani brigades in order to wrest control of the SGPC that presides over well-endowed gurdwaras. It did incalculable harm to the Sri Lankan Tamils by creating a Frankenstein’s monster like the LTTE. The secessionist movement in Kashmir owes its origins and draws sustenance from the Congress party’s penchant for rigging elections to install puppet chief ministers.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-04-22/edit-page/29459685_1_narendra-modi-riots-congress-leaders

———————————–

Madhu Kishwar is a well known activist who has worked on behalf of street people, minority rights and authored number of books.  See her profile at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madhu_Purnima_Kishwar

THE BABA POLITICS: Utpal Kumar- An incisive article from The Pioneer

This article from the Pioneer is one of the best articles that I have seen; it is precise, objective and thought provoking. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Gaurang G. Vaishnav

AGENDA | Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Email | Print |  | Back

June 13, 2011   11:21:30 AM

The vengeance with which the UPA has gone after Baba Ramdev shows its Emergency-like streak. However, it must understand that Ramdev and Anna Hazare are legitimate representatives of a society disgusted with corruption in high places. The authorities can suppress their voices, but the vacuum it will create will be filled by more violent and assertive forces, warns Utpal Kumar

 

Indiais on the brink of a ‘revolution’. In fact, two revolutions. One unleashed by an ‘austere’ man in a white cap not many would prefer to wear today. And, the other by a saffron-clad yoga guru, who doesn’t believe sannyasis can’t indulge in politics. One is a Gandhian who can sit cross-legged for hours, and is the darling of the metropolitan literati and chatterati. The other teaches indigenous ways to keep oneself healthy and has an unassailable hold over the masses of what is romantically called ‘Middle India’. The two complement each other. But that’s not the way the political establishment and the mainstream English media see it.

 

This disconnect was evident on a train from Bihar toDelhia day after the midnight drama was enacted at Ramlila Maidan. “How can police beat up people, most of them women and children, who have come from faraway places to participate in a satyagraha? They were not at all violent, were they? Imagine their plight in an unknown city in the middle of the night,” said a co-passenger, aDelhiUniversitystudent whose father worked on a farmland inBihar. “This Government can allow a Hurriyat hardliner led by a pro-Maoist writer-cum-activist to script a separatist agenda in the Capital, but it can’t endure a peaceful protest against growing corruption in the country,” he added.

 

Soon, others joined the debate. One was an Army jawan, another a salesman, and yet another a bank employee — all truly representatives of what Mahatma Gandhi called the realIndia. The number increased, but the sentiment remained more or less the same: That the UPA has acted in a most undemocratic manner to quell the protest; that the Government wouldn’t have dared to come down highhandedly had the protesters been fromDelhi’s upper classes, as was the case with Anna Hazare’s agitation at Jantar Mantar not very long ago.

 

InDelhi, however, one witnessed an altogether different political discourse, with focus not much on the issue of corruption and the Government’s crackdown on innocent people, but on whether the Baba was at all the right person to hold any such agitation. The central-peripheral divide never looked sharper. The media, too, wasn’t spared: While the English news channels — either cut-off from the realities of sub-urban India or owing to their compulsions to cater to their elite and upper middle class audience for whom the Baba and his followers were just another “funny characters” — toed the Government line, focussing on the alleged misdeeds of Ramdev and his colleagues. It seemed they blindly followed Congress leader Digvijay Singh’s Baba’s-a-thug line. In the process, they forgot to ask a few tough questions: How could the Government suddenly stumble upon so much evidence against the yoga guru? Does it mean that it keeps such evidences as an arm-twisting tool against its opponents for more opportune times? If so, doesn’t it implicate the Government for being hypocritical on the issue of corruption? If the UPA was so sure about the Baba’s ill practices, why did it dispatch four ministers to receive him at theDelhiairport? And, if it was so uneasy about his saffron links, why did it entertain him for hours at a five-star hotel inDelhi?

 

The Hindi news channels, in contrast, showcased a slightly more realistic picture of how the country was reacting to the Government’s midnight crackdown at Ramlila Maidan. Perhaps, because their TRPs are determined by the masses in small towns and villages!

 

ANNA VERSUS RAMDEV

 

Hazare may have inspired a large section of the metropolitan population into expressing concern over the culture of corruption, but the burgeoning small towns and villages remained mostly untouched by the Anna phenomenon. That is where Ramdev’s role comes into play, as any fight against corruption can’t succeed without the support of Middle India.

 

Ironically, those who welcomed Hazare’s call to clean the system are today circumspect about Ramdev. Not very long ago, it was a field day for celebrities — from Aamir Khan to Kabir Bedi — to show their solidarity with the Gandhian movement at Jantar Mantar. On Ramdev, however, the response has been plain disdainful. Salman Khan quipped, “Why is he going on a hunger strike? Isn’t he a yogi teaching yoga?” As for Shah Rukh Khan, he discovered “an agenda” in the Baba’s agitation!

 

The literati’s love for Hazare is both understandable and enigmatic. It’s understandable because this class detests everything mass-oriented and accepts anything coming from the media. And, Hazare is largely a media construct. If a magazine report is to be believed, about 15 years ago, when Hazare went on a fast to protest against corruption in the then Maharashtra Government, a group of reporters from the vernacular press virtually became his publicity agents. Facts were twisted, and numbers inflated to provide legitimacy to his movement. A week into the fast, when these fellow reporters told Hazare that they couldn’t sustain the movement any longer, the Gandhian wilfully relented to call it off on a Sunday. Here, again, there was a problem: On the proposed day, local elections were to be held in the State, an event that would obviously hog all the limelight. Hazare right away shifted his programme to Monday!

 

It’s enigmatic because there’s more about Hazare that should disorient the educated, elite class. Going by the way he runs a village in Maharashtra, he cannot be called ‘democratic’ by any means: He prefers the hands of a thief to be chopped off; he wants anyone found drinking to be tied to a pole and publicly flogged; he believes in rigid implementation of family planning, including forced vasectomies; and, he advocates the corrupt be hanged to death!

 

Maybe Hazare is acceptable because he doesn’t seem to threaten the status quoist upper middle class dreams. He just wants cosmetic changes at the top — bring the Lok Pal Bill and all’s well! It must be understood that while the upper middle class has the right to be disgusted with corruption, it is also a major beneficiary of the malaise. After all, despite it raising this issue, it is primarily this class that gets the maximum benefits from the bribes MNCs pay to politicians to create a hurdle-free economic milieu. Bribes, in a way, are needed for ‘swift’ economic development in the country where governance isn’t truly efficient. It is a way of buying efficiency, as a bureaucrat working in the Finance Ministry said.

 

Today’sBiharis the best example of this trend. People in the State complain that with development, bureaucratic corruption has touched new heights. “Pahle jo kaam pachas rupaye mein hota tha, ab 5,000 mein bhi nahin hota (Earlier a work could be done in Rs 50, but today even Rs 5,000 is not enough),” said a schoolteacher in a northeastern district of Bihar. Yet, people seem content as the State has never witnessed such unprecedented flow of money. “Everyone is getting richer here. Lifestyle has improved. So, people doesn’t mind paying bribes to get their work done in the State,” said a Patna-based businessman. Some, including a Patna Women’s College professor, however, believe the Nitish Government should curb this malaise before it actually gets institutionalised.

 

The upper middle class, therefore, isn’t quite the victim of corruption as it pretends to be. Instead, it is the beneficiary of the system, however corrupt it may be. The real victims are the ones that have been left out or are on the fringes of the emerging economy. The Baba represents this section of Indian society. And, it’s for this reason that his movement needs to be welcomed, and not derided.

 

What’s further bolstering Ramdev’s case is that unlike other gurus, he is not “foreign-imported”, as one of his ardent followers says. He first strengthened his network in the country, and it was only in 2006 that he made his first trip abroad. No wonder, his worldview is rural-oriented, and he wants technical courses to be taught in the mother language. It’s, therefore, hardly a surprise that his politico-economic ideas became an instant hit among rural Indians, left behind in the race for economic prosperity by the English-speaking elite. What helped him strike a chord was a daily TV show being aired on the Aastha channel since 2005.

 

BLAME THE GOVERNMENT

 

Ramdev is as much the product of skewed globalisation as he is of the failure of our political leadership to deliver. After all, today we face the possibility of a political movement led by a yoga guru simply because our political leadership has failed us. Had Suresh Kalmadi been forced to resign when the Commonwealth shames first surfaced, the scandal would have died a natural death! Had A Raja been removed from his office the moment bad press appeared against him, the 2G scandal would have lost much of its sting! Nothing of the sort happened, hence the full-throated demand for a ‘systemic change’. Hence the emergence of a Baba and a Gandhian!

 

Well into its second term, the UPA seems both rudderless and directionless. So is Manmohan Singh. This was a man who gave his Government “six on 10” in a report card in 2005, one year after he became Prime Minister. People then thought he was being modest. Six years down the line, post several mind-boggling financial irregularities, Singh is neither modest, nor he pretends to be the one; he arbitrarily gives his Government “seven out of 10”. He puts the entire blame on coalition politics. For him, the DMK should be solely blamed for the 2G scam! And, Sharad Pawar’s NCP should be responsible for food inflation!

 

Such excuses would have worked well during the UPA-I regime when the Congress had 145 seats, but not in 2009, when the party is just 66 seats short of an absolute majority of 272. No ruling party has been so ‘secure’ in the Lok Sabha since 1991. But then the humility of 2005 has given way to the arrogance of 2011. And, it was this arrogance that was seen at Ramlila Maidan early this month.

 

The vengeance with which the Government is going after the Baba shows its Emergency-like streak. The powers-that-be must understand that Ramdev and Hazare are two sides of the same coin. Inventing cases of corruption against those who are asking tough questions would make people cynical and force them to take recourse to more extreme measures. Look what’s happening inWest Asia! Who would have imagined six months ago that the Arab world would be in such a state of turmoil, as it is now? Hazare and Ramdev are for the good of the Government: They are its safety valve.

 

COMMENTS BOARD ::

 

 Truth about India’s flaky economy.

By K P Ganesh on 6/12/2011 8:40:42 PM

 

I wish readers of this article to google for DEBATE ON GATT a wonderful speech given way back in 1994 by Sri. S Gurumurthy on how India’s quest for globalization has resulted in this kind of catastrophic effect, marginalizing the so called middle India who are working thrice as hard to keep India afloat, compared to their urban dwelling brothers and sisters.

 

 UPA folly

By Ramesh on 6/12/2011 3:57:47 PM

 

UPA is waiting for a West Asia-like situation to happen in this country.

 

 literarti and Hazare

By SM Singh on 6/12/2011 3:32:10 PM

 

Really loved this line of yours: “The literati’s love for Hazare is both understandable and enigmatic. It’s understandable because this class detests everything mass-oriented and accepts anything coming from the media. And, Hazare is largely a media construct.” Great piece.

 

 sad

By Raj on 6/12/2011 12:14:49 PM

 

Good that swamiji today ended his fast. However, this has exposed how insensitive the rulers are.

 

 congrats

By abhinav kumar on 6/12/2011 10:57:46 AM

 

A true and an excellent peice of an article!!! well done u have presented the true picture.

 

 THE BABA POLITICS

By Hare Ram on 6/12/2011 9:21:59 AM

 

Very well written. This is a first positive article ever read on media about Baba. Seems like all other medias joined Congress. I don’t care how much money Baba made but all the issues he raised are legitimate. I don’t think he cheated any one.

 

 More leaders needed

By Rahul on 6/12/2011 8:15:32 AM

 

Lessons from the freedom movement is (particularly after Gandhiji’s 1915 India arrival), do not allow the rulers to highlight only one or two netas with whom they are comfortable with and undermine other Leaders of the movement. Bapu and hon J Nehru were the two netas overshadowing others during the transfer of power in 1947 and the bloody partition of the Country. A similar pattern of Hazare undermining all other leaders of the anti corruption movement must be prevented from developing.

 

 A Million Revolutions In a Wounded Civilization

By Maheswar inKathmanduon 6/12/2011 7:14:26 AM

 

V S Naipaul astutely foresaw the million revolutions bubbling, all overIndia, having first viewed it as a wounded civilization. All these revolts and wounds are now surfacing as the voice of the ‘real’India, the vast new middle class that barely earn $2-4 per day, who are vulnerable to the downswings of globalization, its inequities and immoralities. They want modernity with their traditional identities in place; not be caricatures of the West as are the upper middle classes.

 

 The truth few in India Know.

By sadia on 6/12/2011 4:12:22 AM

 

Indialost its independent status the day an illiterate but KGB trained honey trap appeared in Rajiv’s life. Then she lined up a job for being an interpreter of RAW with Italian secret service. She had already converted Rajiv from Muslim to Roberto to marry her.She brought Italian Mafia in form of Quotrocchi. Rajiv already had started receving money from Soviet government in swiss Bank. When Rajiv threatened to divorce her Quotrocchi met Prabhakaran to sort problem out.

 

 The BABA politics

By panchali on 6/12/2011 12:59:36 AM

 

Very well commented. I totally agree with you that the UPA’s mistreatment of Baba Ramdev is going to backfire on the Government big time. I also liked you Anna versus Baba comparision. But the best was the safety valve theory.

 

 Thank God for this article

By Soumya Dutta on 6/12/2011 12:45:25 AM

 

I was losing belief completely and truly in the Indian print media when the involuntary death of MF Hussain was being given greater preference to the well meaning and fully voluntary fast undertaken by Ramdev. It is a shame that the media derides the yoga guru who has today undertaken a fast to cleanse the system of its 60 years-old evil by petty journalism. Having said and that and then having read this article, I firmly believe not everything has been lost.

 

http://www.dailypioneer.com/DisplayContent.aspx?ContentID=345167&URLName=THE-BABA-POLITICS

Why the Congress wooed and then shooed the Baba away

R Jagannathan Jun 6, 2011
When Baba Ramdev was bundled out of Delhi unceremoniously, it was a
forceful message from the Congress-led UPA government that it was not
going to vacate space for civil society to muscle in on its turf — unless
the civil society members happen to be Sonia Gandhi groupies.

It is also an indication that orders for the crackdown on the Baba came
from the political power centre – Sonia Gandhi herself. It marks a new
assertion of party over government in order to seize the political
initiative from a bumbling Manmohan Singh.

But it is worth understanding what really transpired these last few weeks,
when the government first started humouring the Baba, held detailed
discussions with him, and then hit him on the head – metaphorically – with
a club when he was least expecting it.

Who betrayed whom? Was it the government, which came out waving a paper
saying the Baba went back on his promise to call off the fast? Or was it
the Baba, who found the government closing in on him, and decided to back
away from a deal he knew was not good for his future?

I believe it was the government which decided to pull the plug on the Baba
deal. It flows from the answer to the question: why was the Congress
schmoozing with the Baba in the first place when it knew he had deep Sangh
Parivar connections?

The Congress has a problem in the north, where the BJP is a potent threat
everywhere, except Uttar Pradesh. This is where the Baba comes in handy.
Reuters
The answer: the Congress wined and dined him precisely because he was
close to the Sangh Parivar. It was not something they discovered later,
when Sadhvi Ritambara turned up at the Baba’s fast-fest.

In the Congress book of dirty tricks, this is old hat. Whenever the
Congress sees a looming political threat, it backs a rival in the same
camp to break away and undercut the original threat.

To deal with the Akalis in Punjab, Indira Gandhi backed Bhindranwale. To
destroy the Shiv Sena, it backed Raj Thackeray, and won the last elections
purely from this vote division. To undercut the National Conference, it
broke bread with Mufti Sayeed’s PDP in the last decade before it dumped
the PDP again for the National Conference.

Of course, the Congress also reaps the whirlwind when it sows the wind
(Indira was killed by Sikh extremists, and Rajiv fell to the LTTE’s
suicide bomber), but that’s another story.

It is also worth recalling that the Congress won the last elections in
Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu precisely because a third player (Praja
Rajyam in Andhra, and Vijayakanth’s DMDK in Tamil Nadu) ate  into
opposition votes and brought the Congress (or the Congress alliance)
victory. But for these spoilers, Chandrababu Naidu and AIADMK would have
won in 2009.

So who do you need to fix before 2014 in the same way? While there are
obviously a whole range of regional and sectarian parties who are local
threats to the Congress in various states, the only national threat is the
BJP, which, despite being rudderless over the last seven years, is the
only party capable of upsetting the Congress’ apple-cart.

Within the BJP, the biggest threat is Narendra Modi, who has shown that he
can get the measure of the Congress, and has the potential to galvanise
the party and the majority community to action — given the right political
circumstances, which, admittedly, don’t exist for now. But who knows what
will be the scenario in 2014?

It explains why the Congress is using activists like Teesta Setalvad and
the National Advisory Council (NAC) and other one-dimensional secularists
to fix him – whether in court or through a blatantly communal Bill to
tackle communal violence. The Bill is specifically targetted at Hindu
organisations, and no one else. It will never see the light of day, but
that does not stop undemocratic NAC members from trying to force it down
our throats.

But, at another level, the Congress has a problem in the north, where the
BJP is a potent threat everywhere, except Uttar Pradesh. This is where the
Baba comes in handy.

How? In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and also in the rest of the Hindi belt,
the Baba could cut into BJP votes if he floats a political party. He
doesn’t have to win any seats. If he merely takes away 4-5% of the BJP
vote, it is enough for the Congress to win.

This is the primary reason why the Congress has been humouring the Baba
and talking of doing a deal with him on corruption. Unfortunately, the
deal fell through, either because the Congress was trying to be too clever
with him, or was trying to fix him in other ways – and he balked at the
prospect. This is what forced the midnight swoop – something the Congress
had not planned for when it began talking with him.

The second reason why the Baba was useful to the Congress was his
unwillingness to let the Anna Hazare group run off with the
anti-corruption agenda. The Baba’s ego would not let him be a supporter of
the Hazare camp, which had eminent lawyers well-versed in the art of
drafting laws. It also had the support of the middle-class. The Congress
egged on Baba with his rural and small-town clout to stymie the Hazare
group.

The Congress had no reason to let Anna & Co dictate the new Lokpal bill,
and the Baba’s political ambitions proved useful to drive a wedge between
the two camps. While the midnight action has temporarily allowed the two
camps to kiss and make up, the two cannot ultimately work together.

Since the Anna group has lost vital momentum, it is now possible for the
Congress to impose its own Lokpal Bill with some minor concessions to
civil society and reclaim the agenda.

A perceptive comment by K Raman on Firstpost shows how the Baba has been
neutered, and Anna sidelined: “A man who owns a private island in
Scotland, has an annual turnover of Rs 1,000 crore and flies around in a
private jet would obviously have a few skeletons in his cupboard… In the
next 10 days, one after the other the skeletons will tumble down… The Baba
could be fixed in that way..”.

As for Anna & Co, Raman says: “..the government has clearly sent out the
message that if they mess around, then they too will meet the same fate as
the Baba. Shanti Bhushan’s statement that the Prime Minister and the
government has to resign is not helpful, to say the least…Now with what
face will this team go back and discuss with the same government on Lokpal
Bill?”

Clearly, the Congress used the Baba and discarded him when he did not toe
the line. The BJP need not be too unhappy, too. The Baba was meant to cut
it down to size. So while it may fulminate against the government for its
midnight “Jallianwala Bagh”, it should be secretly happy that one
potential rival for the Hindu vote is out of the way.

The Congress has won – for now. While the Baba did not serve its
short-term purpose, the party may still hold the high cards when it comes
to getting him to float a party to cut into the BJP vote.

But just as a week is a long time in politics, such political manoeuvres
are not enduring. The only question is whether, when it is politics as
usual, the ordinary citizen has lost out. The upsurge of grassroot support
when Anna Hazare began his fast has died down. Cynicism rules. Congress
gains.

Anna to boycott panel meeting

June 06, 2011 9:54:59 AM

Pioneer news service | New Delhi

The midnight crackdown on Baba Ramdev’s supporters at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, has galvanised the civil society movement against corruption with Gandhian Anna Hazare deciding to boycott the Lokpal Bill joint drafting committee meeting on Monday and undertake fast on June 8 to protest the “inhuman brutality unleashed on the Yoga Guru and his supporters.

The development is a big set back for the Government, which had resorted to a divide and rule strategy in dealing with Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare. Ramdev on Sunday himself disclosed that Kapil Sibal wanted that Anna Hazare should not be present on his dais at Ramlila Maidan or the Government would back down on the black money issue.

Anna Hazare group was also uncomfortable with the presence of Sadhvi Ritambara at Ramlila Maidan on Saturday. Hazare had said he would decide on joining Ramdev’s agitation after coming to Delhi. But shocked by the Government brutality, Hazare camp has decided to rally around Baba.

“We condemn this action. This is a blot on humanity… This is like throttling democracy,” Hazare said.

Asking the Prime Minister to explain the reasons which provoked his Government to issue orders for this police action, Hazare said, “Sunday morning’s brutal assault of the Government reminds one of 1975 Emergency. It is almost an emergency like situation. Today is June 5, the Sampoorn Kranti Diwas. People of this country rose against Government injustice 35 years back. Time has come for the people to similarly rise against corruption.”

Eminent lawyer and member of the Lokpal Bill draft committee Shanti Bhushan said that Sunday morning’s incident, clearly showed the Government’s intent on crushing corruption. “Hence, we have decided not to attend the joint meeting on Lokpal Bill on Monday,” he said.

Comparing the Government’s action to that of Emergency in 1975, Bhushan said it shows to what extent the Government can go to protect black money offenders.

Accusing the Government of not being serious about dealing with corruption, Hazare announced a day-long fast at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on June 8. “Wherever you may be, you may stage a fast. And pray to God to give wisdom to this Government”, Hazare said.

Hazare’s hardening stand will add to the Government’s woes. Hazare had led an immensely successful five-day fast against corruption at the same venue in April, forcing the Government to finally accede to the demand of inclusion of civil society representatives in framing of a Jan Lokpal Bill.

Accusing the Government of being insincere in dealing with corruption, Hazare said the civil society would defy prohibitory orders on Wednesday at Jantar Mantar to protest the police action against Baba Ramdev’s movement.

“We have been interacting with this Government in the Joint Committee for the last one and a half months. The police action on peaceful protestors and the proceedings of earlier meetings clearly make government’s intentions in dealing with corruption suspect.

“The Government has been trying to crush anti-corruption movement. We have therefore decided not to attend Joint Committee meetings,” he told a press conference.

Hazare said his side was writing a letter to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is the chairman of the joint drafting committee on Lokpal Bill, asking the government to make its stand public on some of the key issues related to the anti-corruption legislation.

“We have already made our stand clear on these issues. After we receive government’s response, we will decide whether any useful public purpose would be served in attending joint committee meetings,” he said.

On Ramdev, the Gandhian said he has to “sort out” the issues with the yoga guru before sharing the same platform. However, he was quick to add that he supported the issue of black money raised by Ramdev.

Another activist and Anna Hazare camp follower, Arvind Kejriwal said the action showed that this government was drunk with power and the whole country would raise their voices.

He said they would like the Prime Minister to explain what was the provocation for such a brutal action.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/343837/Anna-to-boycott-panel-meeting.html

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