Keeping the Lokpal at bay

The dirty tricks department is working overtime


Prasanna Mohanty | April 18, 2011

The dirty tricks department of the Congress and the government it leads is out in the full force. Look at the speed with which it has acted to discredit Anna Hazare and his associates in the drafting committee on Lokpal bill personally. The real motive is to discredit the anti-corruption crusade and through it, the move to set up the Lokpal.

In quick succession, property deals and a CD involving the father-son duo in the committee – Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan – are out, raising doubts about their credentials. Former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, who last surfaced at the time of the cash-for-votes scam in 2008, is back in action. True or false, the charges against the Bhushans shift the focus to their personalities, away from their cause. Predictably, they will be busy fighting their personal battles for the next few months. The plan seems simple: 'Throw enough dirt and some will stick'.

Anna, of course, has been the target right from the beginning. He was derided for undermining democracy for saying that he doesn’t want to fight election because he will lose his deposit if he does. "(People) Take Rs 100 and vote, take bottle of wine to vote, an election costs Rs 6-7 crore," he had said. Those backing the politicians in the fight against corruption turned it on its head and said this reflected what faith he had in democracy. The naivety was touching, as if Anna had made a shocking revelation to us, even if it may not be the whole truth.

Veteran Congress leader Digvijay Singh has been after Anna tirelessly. He found fault with Anna for praising Narendra Modi for his rural development projects, questioned money mobilised and spent on organising the dharna and also questioned his association with RSS. He even asked for inclusion of NGOs in the Lokpal’s ambit.

Now, Anna has been made to repose his faith in parliament and its supremacy. He was last heard replying to a question about his stand in case the parliament rejected the Lokpal bill. He said it would be acceptable to him. It may seem the right thing to say but make no mistake. The politicians will hold it up to him and the rest of us if the Lokpal bill falls through.

The historical evidence of past 42 years shows that that may indeed be the case. Eight Lokpal bills have come before the parliament, the highest democratic institution of the country, and yet, failed to pass the muster.  Now that Anna has endorsed parliament’s right to reject, the Congressmen and other politicians would be laughing their hearts out.

The Congress, having been in power for the larger part of free India, knows how to keep an inconvenient law at bay. There are enough “allies” whose services can be used at the right time to shout down the law in parliament on some ground or the other.

Yes, indeed, the motive of the politicians, particularly those in power, is suspect and that is why we don’t have an effective mechanism to fight corruption in the first place. The crusade is against that very intention. And don’t doubt, even for a moment, the politicians’ capacity to manipulate their way through.



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