An ominous sign for government
31 Jan 2012 11:31:00 PM IST
Here is a telling contrast in fighting corruption. The nation has seen in the last couple of years two distinct endeavours to fight corruption. One is the fight for a new anti-corruption law with the blessings of even the suspects. And the other is identifying the suspects and fighting them under existing laws. Anna Hazare and his team have launched an agitation for an anti-corruption law — the Lokpal Bill — without which, they told the nation, corruption could not be fought or contained. In their enterprise against corruption they first appealed to Sonia Gandhi for her support to fight corruption! And she also wrote to Anna offering her support! Subramanian Swamy, on the other hand, took the view that corruption could well be fought under the existing anti-corruption law provided the corrupt are targeted directly. First, he filed an application with the prime minister for prosecuting A Raja for his role in the 2G scam. Next he applied to the prime minister for sanction to prosecute Sonia Gandhi, whose support Anna had sought to stop corruption. Swamy, a seasoned politician and accomplished intellectual, knew that without the visible picture of the corrupt, corruption is a theoretical issue — a point which the apolitical Anna and team had missed.
How Subramanian Swamy has cornered the UPA finally is not a complex story. The 2G licence issue had all the trappings of an open air theatre scam from the day the licences were fraudulently issued, namely, on January 10, 2008. When the government was covering up the 2G issue, everyone was merely wondering how to fix the government. But Swamy acted. He filed an application on November 24, 2008, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for permission to prosecute A Raja who had issued the 2G licences. At that time Raja was a powerful minister in the ministry of UPA-I, being from the DMK that was dominant in the alliance. The anti-corruption law mandates that no court can look at a complaint against a public servant “except with the previous sanction” of the authority competent to remove the public servant from office. Since Raja was a minister, who could be removed by the PM, Swamy approached the PM for the sanction.
The likes of Sibals and Chidambarams were perhaps laughing at Swamy. But Swamy persisted. He kept on writing letters to the prime minister reminding him about his application. He ceaselessly kept talking about it in public and through the media. But the prime minister, as he is sworn to in most matters, kept silent. The silence of the PM had made the government and the ruling party happy. But Swamy moved the Delhi High Court for a direction to the PM to take a decision on his plea. The high court dismissed Swamy’s petition. The ruling government and party were in ecstasy. But, undeterred, Swamy moved the Supreme Court. The PM had written to Swamy on March 10, 2010, that Swamy’s plea for prosecuting Raja was premature as the CBI was investigating the matter — a response authored by amateur legalism. After having trivialised Swamy thus, on April 26, 2010, the PM told the media — which asked him whether Raja’s statement that he had the approval of the PM to do what he did — that Raja had consulted him before issuing the licences. That what the PM had accepted as consultation, Raja has asserted as permission.
Swamy also complained to the Supreme Court about the inordinate delay by the PM in deciding the matter. Meanwhile, the 2G issue had exploded on the face of the government with the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India saying that the loss to the government was, on the lower side, some `69,000 crore and could be as high as `1,75,000 crore. The Supreme Court, seeing the government prevaricating at all levels, began monitoring the CBI investigation of the scam. The petition by Swamy too became part of the 2G scam litigation in the Supreme Court. The CBI did file charge-sheets in some cases of scam, including Raja as an accused in all except one. But Swamy’s plea to the PM to prosecute Raja and the PM’s inaction on it survived for consideration by the Supreme Court. The apex court did go deep into the matter, called for the records of the PMO and asked for an explanation from the PMO for the delay. By now, the ruling party and the government stopped laughing at Swamy. It became the turn of Swamy to laugh at them. It is the plea of Swamy to the PM to allow him to prosecute Raja which has been decided by the Supreme Court on January 31, 2012, in a landmark judgment.
First, the court has set aside the judgment of the Delhi High Court that had refused to direct the PM to decide on Swamy’s plea. Second, it has ruled that it is the constitutional right of a citizen to move to prosecute any public servant. Third, the authority to whom the application is made for permission to prosecute should take a decision within three months and if, within four months, no decision is taken, the permission shall be deemed to be granted. The import of the Supreme Court judgment is evident. The court has clearly indicted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for delaying the decision on Swamy’s plea. It has also directed him to decide on Swamy’s plea in 90 days. The court has also said that Parliament should lay down the guidelines for 2G prosecution. Finally, the court has said that for ordering inquiries into corruption against any public servant, criminal courts do not need sanction.
It may appear at the first sight that the judgment is against Raja and the PM. But, in substance, it is just an ant-bite on Raja and an embarrassment for the PM. Raja, already charge-sheeted, is in jail. The PM will have no difficulty in allowing one more complaint — that of Swamy — against Raja. But the real danger lies in the other application by Swamy — for permission to prosecute Sonia Gandhi — which the PM has labelled as “premature” and ducked. Under the anti-corruption law, the PM can sack Sonia, the chairperson of National Advisory Council, even though he himself may be removed by her. Swamy can now ask the PM whether the complaint has matured. He can also move the criminal court for inquiry against Sonia Gandhi for which, the Supreme Court has ruled, no sanction is needed. Swamy’s statement that he “can bypass Vadra and go straight to Sonia” is ominous. The Congress cannot laugh at him now.
(Views expressed in the column are the author’s own)
S Gurumurthy is a well-known commentator on political and economic issues.
I could not help sharing this with you. It may not be politically correct, but it expresses people’s angst about corruption and Congress.
Last One Is
A side benefit of Anaa Hazare’s agitation: True colors of Muslim. Christian and Dalit leaders are out in open for all to see. These Muslim leaders, who have nothing to do with democracy world over, who ask for enforcing Sharia law wherever they have a clout, who do not let a Hindu procession pass without creating trouble, are suddenly in love with democracy and parliament. Their gripe is that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Dr. Subramanian Swamy and Varun Gandhi are with Anaa. That Kiran Bedi and Kejriwal had supposedly opposed appointment of a Muslim for the position of Chief Information Commissioner. These “democratic” leaders have no compunction in denying others their rights. They want to decide who can and cannot support Anaa. Well, those days are coming to an end pretty fast because their sugar daddy, Congress is on its last legs.
Zafaryab Jilani and his ‘head in the sand’ cohorts are shouting from the roof tops. Self styled messiahs of the Dalits and Christians like Udit Raj, Kancha Ilaiah, John Dayal and Joseph D’Souza want reservations within Lokpals and Lokayuktas and yet they talk of democracy.
Whether it is singing of Vande Mataram or Sarswati Vandana, or Ram Manidr at Ayodhya, they have missed the bus to join the mainstream many a times. These time they are missing the bus once again but this is the last bus. All thinking citizens should expose these characters, not because of their religious persuasion but because of their anti-Hindu tirade. let us throw them in the dustbin of history.
Gaurang G. Vaishnav
Courtesy: Indian Express
Why the Ramlila Surge Worries Minorities and those on Margins
Says Akhtar-ul Wasey, Director, Institute of Islamic Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia: “The issue of corruption is such that there’s tremendous pressure to join the crowd. Because if we oppose this particular movement, they will say we are corrupt. Price rise, corruption and unemployment have given a fillip to such forces. Corruption ki aarh mein, (in the garb of corruption) they want to push all kinds of defeated and empty slogans and agendas. Now the government’s timidity in the face of a crowd is fanning this instability. Muslims, of course, want corruption to end but don’t want to make common cause with elements that want to rock the system, the only preserve of our rights and freedoms.”
No wonder that Deoband’s new Mohtamim, Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, has said that they have not supported this movement: “The movement is basically suspect. The security and protection of Parliament and (to honour the) glory of democracy is the duty of every citizen.”
Mahmud Madani, MP and a leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, the only prominent Muslim face among the 20 founders of India Against Corruption — Team Anna’s virtual platform — is now in Saharanpur and practically in communicado. Zafaryab Jilani, member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, has made it clear that the Board has nothing to do with this agitation. Says Maulana Ahmed Khizar Shah Kashmiri of the Tanzeem Ulema-e-Hind: “The idea behind this campaign is to weaken Parliamentary system and democracy and this is a blow to secular India.”
Maulana Umer Ilyasi of the India Imam Organisation has called the campaign a “political conspiracy” saying: “There is no question of any one person being above the country’s Constitution and Parliament. There is no question of Muslims being part and parcel of this.”
This chorus is heard the Urdu press as well. The Mumbai, Kanpur, Bareilly, Lucknow and Delhi-based Inquilab on August 17 interviewed several prominent community leaders, including chief of the Jamat-e-Islami, Maulana Jalaluddin Umri. Their refrain: We agree with the need for a strong Lokpal but not with the method of pushing it through.
Critics are also wary of those who have clambered aboard the Anna bandwagon. Ramdev may have stepped back but there are questions about the more urbane Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his Art of Living and youth factions who shared the stage with the anti-reservation Youth for Equality. Less than 10 days ago, they took part in the Hindu Unity Day, in Texas. Also present was Subramaniam Swamy, most recently in the news for writing that Muslims should be denied voting rights if they do not accept their “Hindu legacy.”
Indeed, reflecting this unease, Dalit activists and writers including Udit Raj, Kancha Ilaiah, John Dayal and Joseph D’Souza, have argued for reservation in the Lokpal set-up for SC/STs, OBCs and minorities “to ensure that there is no injustice done to the backward and marginalised.”
The politics of Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi may be fuzzy but their association with certain “causes” has raised questions, too. Last year, Kejriwal and Bedi herself led the drive to target the Chief Information Commissioner and insist that Bedi be made the CIC. In fact, when then CIC Wajahat Habibullah resigned last year and there was a chance that M M Ansari (now Kashmir interlocutor) would take over, Kejriwal lobbied with Leader of Opposition L K Advani keen to ensure that his name not be accepted.
Kejriwal and Bedi have also shared platforms put up by Youth for Equality and Art of Living. On March 1 in 2009, for example, Kejriwal and Bedi addressed the Youth for Equality and talked of both terrorism and corruption. Youth for Equality has blamed reservation for shrinking opportunities.
Archbishop of Delhi Father Vincent Concessao, a founder-member of the IAC, is nowhere to be seen. Contacted, he told The Indian Express: “This is pressure and a fast unto death is suicidal…there is no way we will allow for our established Parliamentary practices to be bypassed. We are with the issue but not with the means. How can they say only one particular version of the Bill is to be followed?”
Venky Vembu Aug 16, 2011
By a curious alignment of planets, Anna Hazare has captured the imagination of an India that is crying out for fundamental change. Gurinder Osan/AP
The events of recent weeks, culminating in Anna Hazare’s detention this morning, mark in many ways a defining moment in India’s evolution as a democracy. The upsurge of popular sentiment in cities across India this morning in solidarity with Team Anna’s detention is stunning. And the readiness with which people who normally go to elaborate lengths to avoid engagement with “dirty” politics are now courting arrest or are otherwise organising public protests – or even just quietly observing a day’s fast at home — to give expression to their sense of disgust with the UPA government’s handling of the Lokpal Bill exercise is quite unprecedented in independent India.
I know of professionals who have taken leave from their investment banking jobs abroad, where they earn six-figure dollar salaries and bonuses, just to be in India today to be part of this movement. One of them has even prepared his young wife for the inevitability of his arrest – which in his family would normally be considered a shame and a scandal – and has been organising protests in Mumbai for the past few days.
At NRI gatherings of Indians Against Corruption, the energy of young Indians sharing ideas to make India corruption-free has been palpable. The extent to which they are ready to step outside of their 9-to-5 grind and donate time and money for the biggest public cause that confronts India is a surprise – even to them. They say they used to think of themselves as apathetic to politics. But now, they’ve found a cause they believe in.
Watch images from the protests
This is the second time in the past few months that Anna Hazare has convincingly demonstrated the popular, mass-based nature of the support that his campaign enjoys, across class, caste and religious distinctions that normally divide us. We first saw it in April, when he launched his fast at Jantar Mantar, and electrified India. Since that time, he and his team have had the entire political establishment — and, to be honest, a cross-section of media commentators – clueless about how a man with little or no financial resources can command so large a following with only rustic simplicity and the power of a message that has great resonance with millions of people.
So, the fact that Anna Hazare and his team enjoys enormous goodwill with a large-enough constituency of people who are sick of corruption and jaded with politics as usual and who have completely lost faith in the political establishment in its entirety is blindingly obvious.
The question then arises: how can Team Anna now leverage this goodwill? Should it continue to remain the “outsider” calling the political establishment to account? What are the odds that it can succeed? How can it channel the deep-seated distrust of the political establishment and bring about demonstrable change.
To address that, it helps to assess the extent of “success” that Team Anna’s campaign has had. It’s beyond dispute that Team Anna’s one major success has been in giving voice to and amplifying the popular disgust with the top-down, 360-degree corruption that pervades our public life — and in showing up starkly that for all the power games that go on with the various political parties, they are pretty much united in their opposition to a strong Lokpal institution.
Yet, while Team Anna gets full marks for elevating the issue of corruption to the top of the agenda and for creating mass awareness, its attempts beyond that have only met with limited success. For instance, the Lokpal Bill that’s now before Parliament is a mere shadow of the strong anti-corruption agency it envisaged. And even those who are willing to stand up and be counted along with Anna aren’t fully convinced that Team Anna’s Jan Lokpal is the answer to corruption. If you can’t convince even those who support you, what chances do you stand against those who oppose you?
It is in that context that Team Anna needs to formulate a forward-looking political strategy.
Since it’s the current UPA government that is now doing its damnedest to water down the Lokpal Bill, it’s fair to say that it will pay a big political price when general elections are due next in 2014. By default, an alternative political formation could then come to power. But even in the event of, say, a BJP-led grouping coming to power, there’s nothing to suggest that it will work to change the system because it’s now too entrenched in the wily ways of electoral game-playing (as was demonstrated most strikingly in its handling of affairs in Karnataka). The BJP has thus far adopted only a wishy-washy stand on the Lokpal Bill, which validates the suspicion that it doesn’t want to alter the rules of the political game too drastically.
Enter the political arena
In any case, why should Team Anna do all the grunge work only to see another status quo-ist party ride on its back and come to power? Why not bite the bullet and enter the “dirty” political fray yourself?
It’s true that Anna Hazare has a disdain for electoral politics as it is practised now, where – in his words – people sell their vote for a bottle of liquor. He also considers himself “unelectable”, given the reality of the political arena. Yet, the biggest criticism that cripples the movement today is that since it is not elected – “or electable” – it has no right to influence the discourse on the Lokpal Bill, now that it is before Parliament.
It’s not just Congress lackeys who make that criticism. Even non-Congress politicians andinsightful commentators make that point.
On that count, Team Anna’s best days as an agent of change from the “outside” may be already over. From here on, it only risks elevating its politics of confrontation, which could erode the political goodwill it now enjoys. It’s perhaps time for Team Anna to enter the political arena and work for change from within.
Even if it does that, it doesn’t have to become just another political party. With the goodwill that it now enjoys and the energy it has infused in its supporters, it can change the way politics is played in India. What it lacks in money power, it can make up for with a bottom-up movement that, as has been already demonstrated, enjoys great resonance. In any case, as we saw with the routing of the DMK in Tamil Nadu, money power stands no chance when a people are set on throwing out a corrupt regime.
The challenges to becoming a mainstream political party are formidable, particularly when you’re (for now) only a one-issue party. But that issue – corruption — is one that is right at the top of people’s consciousness. And as the only political force that today enjoys a nationwide profile, is untainted by corruption, has a vision for changing the system – and a volunteer force that can more than compensate for the money power of its opponents with boots-on-the-ground campaign, Team Anna has enormous strengths in this battle.
Moments such as this come only once in a generation. By a curious alignment of planets, Anna Hazare has captured the imagination of an India that is crying out for fundamental change. It is time for it to seize the moment, stop being an outsider that has exhausted its influence as a change agent, enter electoral politics, and recreate an India in its own image.
16 August 2011, 11:09 AM IST
A clueless UPA has done what every autocrat does in times of defeat. Crush, show the state power, and stifle the people’s voice and then look around with a stiff neck — hey, any one else? Unaware of the meteoric suddenness with which events unfold, the ruler never realizes that it’s the people who once powered him to ascendancy and it’s the people who will take back that mandate. We love to think we are immortals. Rulers cling to power as if both are made for each other, forever. Anna was willing to talk. He was placid. He didn’t denounce ministers and walked an extra mile to speak to Sonia and her entire power packed group, with Prime Minister and cabinet members. He was given to understand that everyone wants to end corruption. The same ‘red carpet at airport and savagery in Ramlila ground’ style governance unfolded minutes after Anna left the high-profile meeting. Minister after minister mocked at his ideas, in signed articles and on screen. ‘If you want to educate a child, Lokpal will not help,’ said the one who was on the committee to draft the bill. Then why did he accept to be on the committee? Ending corruption does mean providing more for the children’s education and drinking water to the villages. But hate knows no logic. So much was the muck being thrown on anti-corruption campaigner Anna that he had to write to Sonia that Congress leaders were trying to derail the process of drafting the Lokpal Bill by a smear campaign, and she must restrain her colleagues. Nothing happened. By God’s grace, that time she was ok and in Delhi. We wish her early recovery and a healthy long life, but does she have the same sentiments for Anna? If yes, then why this brutality against him by those who are close to her? If anything happens to the old, frail-bodied Gandhian, what will be the consequences? Daily doses of acidic allegations, to the extent alleging he is corrupt, convey a definite message on behalf of the UPA.
It’s not a joke that the common Indian, children and the aged, are feeling an affinity to Anna and not with those who are out to crush his movement and put an inhuman pressure on him. The one who so transparently leads a historic campaign, without any crutches or a well-oiled framework of organization, relying entirely on people’s good faith in goodness, is being attacked by Gandhi cap driven khaki. I believe nothing can be perfect, even Lokpal. But what then is meant by a human endeavor? It’s the closest we can inch towards creating a better environment to nail the bad. Like any other law, that might not be an answer to everything, still there has to be a rule of law and new laws need to be enacted and it helps. Lokpal has to be discussed and passed by Parliament. But how does a fast derail or challenge that process? Anna was assured something, and Lokpal bill draft contains something else. Who ditched whom? Is Anna at fault if he is anguished and feels backstabbed? Even if the government thinks he is being unreasonable and too adamant, is this the way to stop a citizen’s protest and curb his democratic rights? Can this government ask Rahul to limit his entourage to fifty persons and twenty cars? And not to go to Bhatta Parsaul or Amethi? What is not doable to a Congressman, how can that become a lawful act against any other citizen?
An explosive revelation about Anna Hazare and his team in this 27 minute video in Hindi.
Find out answers to these troubling questions:
- Is Anna Hazare planted by Congress?
- Where did Hazare collected Rs. 8,200,000 for his movement?
- Did 70% of that money come from Congress people on the instructions of higher ups?
- Why did Jindal, a Congress person give Rs. 4.2 million for the movement?
- Why was a clause added to include Megasaysay award winners (Hazare, Kejriwal, Bedi) in the Lokpal team? Were they securing jobs for themselves?
- What is the role of Agnivesh?
- If Hazare and team is part of the public movement, why did they become part of a Government team?
- Why were Subramanian Swamy, Vishwabandhu Gupta and 17 others were black listed by team Hazare from attending the “drama” at Rajghat?
- Why did Santosh Hegde leave today’s meeting halfway?
- Was Baba Ramdev beat up?
- Did the Prime Minister come to know about the police crackdown only when he woke up on 5th June?
- Is the democracy in Bharat already dead but the announcement is not made yet?
- Is there any hope for the future of Bharat?
These are serious and disturbing questions and one hopes there is an explanation. However, we the people, especially those who are involved in the movement have a right to know answers to these questions. One should not be afraid that this would lead to disunity among us because we need to make sure that there are no foxes guarding the chicken coupe.
Gaurang G. Vaishnav
Swami Nigamanandji’s death due to fasting is a big shock. While politicians play one upmanship and try to find advantage even in death, what is disturbing is that practically no one knew about Swami Nigamanandji’s fast. Why the media did not pick up on this story for four long months is a question we need to ask. Why VHP did not highlight it? I do not know if they did but I have not seen any reports on it.
What is happening with our religious places which are also our cultural heritage sites is very troublesome. Whether it is the quarrying in the Ganga basin in Haridwar, building of a dam on Gangaji in earthquake prone area or illegal mining of Vrajbhumi, what is happening is the permanent loss of history and cultural heritage. This is no less than the menace of corruption and black money. The fight against corruption and black money would be won some day but by the time our nation wakes up to the disaster of ruins visited on our historical and cultural places, if it ever does, it would be too late. We can blame the Muslims invaders for vandalizing our shrines and centers of learning and rightly so, but who do we have to blame but our own Hindu people and politicians for the naked aggression on our heritage because of their insatiable greed?
I am grieved by the death of Swami Nigamanandji but I have come to a conclusion (and Dr. Subramanian Swamy said the same thing when Baba Ramdev broke his fast) that you can use fast as a weapon only against those who have a heart. In today’s aasuric and adharmic world, one has to use the appropriate weapons as were used by Shree Krishna and Pandavas. I am glad that Shree Krishna did not advice Yudhisthir to go on fast against Kauravas. Come to think of it, how many instances you can find in our scriptures where people went on fast to right a wrong?
Gandhiji made fasting fashionable but someone rightly said that Gandhiji was successful because his adversary were Britishers; had he tried to fast against Hitler, he would have been dead long time ago.
I do not care for what Digvijay Singh says because he is no better than a puppy dog of Madam Sonia. He has no credibility to pass judgment on what Hindus are doing after calling Ramdevji a thug and referring to bin Laden as Osamaji. The Uttarakhand government did move Swami Nigamanandji to a hospital, just as they did with Baba Ramdev. They should have paid serious attention to Swami Nigamanandji’s demands. It is a matter of great shame and pain that in free(?) and democratic (?), saints die because of total indifference of people in power to genuine grievances of people.
So far as the state government not stopping the quarrying is concerned, I would not pass a judgment without having all the information. When the central government is dragging its feet nay, putting all kind of road blocks in the path of having an effective Lokpal bill and bringing back the black money stashed abroad, why should we expect something different from any state government? They take their clue from their counterparts in New Delhi.
May Swamiji’s soul rest in peace and may his sacrifice not go in vain.
FRONT PAGE | Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | 2:02:55 AM
PNS |New Delhi
A day after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee launched a frontal attack on anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and his team, the civil society members hit back at the ruling dispensation in the Centre. Accusing the Congress of behaving in an “autocratic” manner, they decided to brief the UPA allies and the Opposition parties about the goings-on in the meetings of the Joint Drafting Committee (JDC) for Lokpal Bill.
“The Congress is not only excluding its UPA allies in the talks for the Lokpal Bill but also the Opposition parties. It thinks as if only the ruling party is important. It shows the Congress’ concern for parliamentary democracy,” said activist Arvind Kejriwal, while talking to mediapersons on Monday.
He said the civil society members would now brief the non-Congress parties on the issue. “We will brief them as to what all is happening at the JDC meetings,” he said.
The civil society would write to the political parties with details of the deliberations that have taken so far at the joint panel meetings. They would also attach the documents circulated during the meetings.
Kejriwal, a member on the joint panel, quoted Mukherjee as saying the MPs were elected representatives of the people and they had the powers to legislate laws. “But the MPs cannot become dictators if they are elected once in five years,” he retorted.
Replying to Mukherjee’s attack on Hazare, lawyer Prashant Bhushan said it was a proof of the Minister’s skewed understanding of democracy and arrogance of power. They have also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying an honest person like him should not be scared of being investigated by an independent Lokpal.
In turn, without naming Hazare Congress went all out against him by alleging that the Gandhian was an “unelected dictator” who was acting at the behest of “forces attempting to destablise the country”.
On Sunday, Mukherjee, who is the JDC chairman, had stated that the civil society’s agitations and fasts were undermining established institutions of democracy such as Parliament. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan and RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal, both members on the joint panel, spoke to the mediapersons on Monday to trash the charges made by the Finance Minister.
Responding to Mukherjee’s charges, the civil society members, in a statement, said, “Such statements betray a distorted understanding of democracy and an arrogance of power.
They show a mistaken understanding that the people have no role to play in governance and law making once they have elected their representatives and they have formed a Government.”
While Mukherjee had taken a dig at the fast undertaken by Hazare in April, Bhushan retorted that fasting, as Gandhi had demonstrated, was the most non-violent and civilised means of expressing oneself and exerting democratic pressure on any Government. “Unfortunately, a party which considers itself as the political legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, is reviling civil society movements and fasting as anti-democratic,” he said.
Bhushan also objected to Mukherjee rejecting the demand of civil society to televise live the proceedings of the JDC and calling it a circus. He asked whether by this logic it meant that Parliament was also a circus and the MPs were animals in that circus.
Kejriwal repeated the points made in the letter written by all five civil society members to Manmohan Singh to buttress their argument that the PM should indeed be brought under the purview of Lokpal.
He reminded the Government that Mukherjee himself as the chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Lokpal Bill in 2001 under the NDA rule had recommended that the PM should covered under the ambit of Lokpal. Later, in January this year, in the draft law prepared by his Ministry, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily suggested inclusion of the PM in Lokpal’s purview, he said.
Kejriwal went on to state that the draft law was sent to Home Ministry under P Chidambaram, which also concurred in March with this view. Even Manmohan Singh had advocated the inclusion of PM in Lokpal’s ambit, he said, adding that in the last 10 years the Government’s view has been in favour of bringing the PM under the purview of Lokpal. Incidentally, three out of five Ministers – Mukherjee, Chidambaram and Moily – are on the joint panel for Lokpal Bill.
Kejriwal asked, “Now, all the three Ministers have suddenly taken a U-turn and they appear to be adamant on keeping the PMO out of the Lokpal’s ambit. We are wondering what happened post-March, which prompted the Government to suddenly take a u-turn on the issue?”
On the other hand, stepping up its attack on Hazare and BJP-RSS, Congress charged that the greatest danger to the democracy is from the unelected dictator. “If democracy faces its biggest peril, it is from the tyranny of the unelected and tyranny of the unelectable,” party spokesman Manish Tewari told mediapersons without naming Hazare or BJP or RSS.
Apparently sending the message to Hazare and his colleagues not to take the engagement with the Government for granted, he said there can be only one veto in Indian democracy and that is in the hands of people and “not any one individual”.
Taking strong exception to Hazare’s threat to go on an indefinite hunger strike from August 16, Tewari wondered whether it was democratic to talk about such threats when one is engaged in a dialogue with the Government.
The Congress – Government face-off that is now publicly evident in the
manner in which Baba Ramdev was received by 4 ministers at the instance of
the Prime Minister and invited for negotiations at Claridges Hotel – only to
be followed by the volte face of Police atrocity against 50000 innocent
citizens at Ramlila Maidan in the dead of night of June 4.
Some points occurred to me and I am sharing my thoughts aloud. This follows
articles by me (Sandhya), Smt Nancy Kaul and Smt Radha Rajan on this subject
at www.vijayvaani.com <http://www.vijayvaani.com/> and subsequent exchanges
with friends. Setting aside all emotions, I personally feel that the episode
– Whatever overt power she may still exercise over Congress and
Government, Sonia Gandhi is on a weak wicket, which is getting weaker,
though this may not be readily apparent as yet
– In fact, Sonia Gandhi may derive more power from the pusillanimity
of the BJP and some RSS ‘thekedars’ who primed Baba Ramdev to lead a
movement that was destined to be aborted [by them, for her] and thus help
Sonia to maintain her stranglehold over the Government via the NAC and the
Anna Hazare-Lokpal agenda – except that that is moving towards utter failure
– Sonia Gandhi’s Western support base has fractured and she knows
it, which is why she is desperate to ram Rahul Gandhi into the PM post, but
this desperation is making her and Rahul make costly mistakes [like Muslims
are surely going to perk up to the fact that Christian surrogates are being
primed for the post, and they will let their resentment show in some way.]
– The political establishment in London and Washington can see that
she is politically in the ‘diminishing returns’ mode and that Rahul is a
non-starter. So they are unlikely to invest energy in her. Just as they
dumped the unpopular Mubarak so that they could stay put behind the scenes
in Egypt, so they will not give momentum to her fight with Manmohan Singh
and the sections of Government and Bureaucracy that are uncomfortable with
Sonia and her behaviour.
– That leaves Sonia Gandhi with only the Church (Vatican and all the
rest) and their approach is muscular and aggressive, as if India is Latin
America, and this mistake will prove costly for her.
– Sonia is left with very poor allies who determine her agenda in
public [because she does not speak so as not to commit herself to a position
from which she may need to resile later; ditto for Rahul Gandhi]. These are
Digvijay Singh [who never recovered from the shock of his defeat in MP],
Anil Shastri who attacks her enemies via the Congress mouthpiece, and Kapil
Sibal who is actually a lawyer and not a politician. There is not a single
Congress stalwart batting on behalf of Sonia Gandhi today, and hence she is
not going very far. Pranab Mukherjee, who is the Government troubleshooter,
quietly slunk away when he realised the agenda has shifted from Government
to Congress/Sonia, and that should tell us a lot. Even P Chidambaram is
keeping a low profile.
These are my random thoughts on the events of the past week, and I just
wanted to put them across.
Published: Friday, May 6, 2011, 2:21 IST
By Francois Gautier | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
One hopes that the people of India are not blind to the utter cynicism of some of its politicians. The way they are efficiently and ruthlessly killing the whole Lokpal movement with the help of deceit and slander is frightening. All the while, Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, whose party is not only the main recipient of corruption but has actually institutionalised it, throw decoys at us with declarations of ‘zero tolerance of corruption’.
It is funny how this government is hell bent in preserving what is corrupt, untruthful, inefficient – as symbolised by the deal they have made with Karunanidhi that they will not touch his family – and fanatic about destroying what is free of corruption and is prosperous.
Sonia has been on a personal vendetta against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for a long time. She had a useful tool in Teesta Setalvad, who, it is now discovered, has bribed witnesses, filed false affidavits, and committed repeated perjuries in court. Teesta’s usefulness is nearing an end as she may soon land up in jail, so the Congress has now found another willing tool in Gujarat police officer Sanjiv Bhatt to implicate Modi in the post-Godhra riots.
The government has subverted its investigative instruments such that the CBI goes after Modi even as it closes its eyes to the wrongs that chief ministers of the Congress or its allies, such as the DMK, are openly doing.
For example, the CBI requested the judiciary to drop the case against Jagdish Tytler, who was seen by innumerable witnesses leading mobs to murder Sikhs, while it is going all guns blazing against Modi, who at best was caught off guard when the riots in Gujarat broke out in 2002, or at the worst, delayed in calling the army. But did not Rajiv Gandhi do the same thing (“When a big tree falls, the earth shakes,” he had said) after his mother was murdered by her own bodyguards? Rajiv also delayed calling in the security forces.
It is illogical that the legal instruments of Indian democracy are used to pin down the CM of India’s most lawful, and prosperous and least corrupt state, which impresses even non-BJP tycoons such Ratan Tata, when a Lalu Prasad was allowed to loot Biharand keep it in the most desolate state because he was an ally.
Is it logical today that the Indian media only highlight the 2002 Gujarat riots, carefully omitting the fact that they were triggered by the horrifying murder of 57 Hindus, 36 of them innocent women and children, burnt in the Sabarmati Express? Riots of that intensity do not happen in a day; they are the result of long-term pent-up anger and a spark – like the killing of Hindus, whose only crime was that they believed that Ram was born in Ayodhya.
It is widely known that the dreaded Khalistan movement in Punjab was quelled in the ’80’s by supercop KPS Gill in a ruthless manner by a number of ‘fake encounters’ that killed top Sikh separatists. This was done under a Congress government, both at the Centre and in Punjab. Rajiv was the PM then, but he was never indicted. This is so because terrorists have no law and they kill innocent people; and sometimes ruthless methods have to be used against them.
Why is Sonia going so single-mindedly against Modi? Because, he seems to be the only alternative to her son Rahul Gandhi becoming prime minister in the next general elections. We should give credit to Sonia for her cunning and ruthlessness.
It is no good being a Hindu in Sonia Gandhi’s India. It is better to be a Quattrocchi, who was exonerated by the CBI. Or a terrorist like Sohrabuddin from whose house in Madhya Pradesh 40 AK-47 rifles, and a number of live hand grenades and bullets were confiscated, who was declared “Wanted” in five states with 40 cases registered against him. Then you stand a chance to be protected by the government of India, while those who have at heart their country’s integrity go to jail.
Sonia has achieved such terrifying power, a glance of her, a silence, just being there, is enough for her inner circle to act; she has subverted so much of the instruments of Indian democracy and she controls such huge amounts of unlisted money that sooner or later this ‘karma’ may come back to her under one form or the other.