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The Anna storm across the country

The biggest joke going around various circles of Delhi these days is about  Gandhi having come in the dream of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and asking him “Main apna chashma, topi aur lathi chhodkar aaya tha. Who kahan hain?” The Prime Minister says: “Bapu, Who to Anna Hazare uthakar le gaye””. Then Bapu replied in disgust “Tum  samhal hi nahi sake aur Anna to ab lathi bhi utha  lega…….

That sums up the exact situation in the country over the UPA government’s thinking process and team Anna’s action plan. Perhaps no Congress government in the country so far has proved to be as indecisive, inept and incoherent on this issue of Lokpal bill as this government has. Worse still, it is not yet able to read the public mood and has gone on shooting its leg repeatedly.

Last month I had written in my column that Anna was like Android technology and it would connect the whole country for his cause in no time. Then, a couple of senior leaders in the Congress party had accused me of being a sensationalist. When I had argued that the UPA government was being foolish in thinking that it would deal Anna in Baba Ramdev way, I was again chastened by the same people that the media had become too aggressive and provocative in its stance and coverage and that was not a good sign for democracy.

Today, I stand vindicated as the government has gone on committing  mistakes continuously to hide one mistake and it is for the first time that people showed their displeasure to the Prime Minister in Kolkata by showing him placard saying: “PM Go back”. The black flag reception to Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid in Farukhabad and the arrest of over 80 people at Prime Minister’s residence and the ground swell of support for team Anna across the country during the last one week is a clear indication that the people’s anger against corruption and their overall ire against this government is only going to increase with every passing day.

What has made them all the angrier and agitated is the Prime Minister’s statement in Lok Sabha that “Anna’s path is fraught with grave consequences”. Today, every right thinking man is constrained to question the propriety and rationale of his statement, especially in the very light of hitherto evolving situations.
One need to clearly dissect and the actual meaning and thought process of the Prime Minister behind this kind of statement.

First, his assertion that Hazare’s path is not conducive for parliamentary democracy as the Parliament is regarded as ‘sovereign’ in our West Minister model of British Parliamentary democracy, although appears edifying at its face, yet on a deeper introspection, it throws the gauntlet in your own court as to why the so-called sovereignty of parliament faces a formidable challenge from its own people who made it a ‘sovereign’. This arouses a pertinent legal question: whether the people of India who granted the parliament a sovereign status, do have the right to undermine its legitimacy as and when they so feel it? Or, whether the Parliament, having been granted the ‘sovereign status’ can override the aspirations and the expectations of the people of India simply for the sake of being a ‘sovereign? On the other hand, it raises a fundamental question and that being: “Is Parliament meant for representing the collective aspirations of the people of India, or, are the people of India bound to follow the dictate of the Parliament even if it is purportedly being perceived to be crushing the legitimate collective aspirations of the people of India?

Secondly,  Dr Manmohan Singh is seen to be far removed from the grass root expectations of the people, whereas, Anna Hazare, a far little known face than the Prime Minister and his so-called valiant troubleshooter ministers, has been catapulted to the national stage highlighting the popular urge and common aspirations of the people of our country.  Who gave this little known social activist such maneuvering space to rise to the national political firmament to represent the voice of the nation? Dr Singh will not have to do much research to pin the blame on his Cabinet colleagues and hawks in the Congress party. Or would it be right to say that as the CEO of the government he has been a monumental failure and instead he appears to have been hostage and meekly and submissively kept on bowing down to the wishes of a few Ministers who have become law unto themselves and have been taking orders from elsewhere?

Third, many people who till recently believed in his honesty and integrity have started becoming more befuddled and bemused when they recall his  famous quote “a man in high position needs to be just like Caesaer’s wife, with none to question his integrity as  his integrity should be widely perceived to be  beyond doubts”.  How could Dr Singh comment against his own mentor, ex-Prime Minister of India, Mr Narshimha Rao, when he struggled against litany of charges brought against him? How the same Caeser’s wife quote had eluded him when he stands indicted in the people’s court surrounded by the cloudburst of doubts.  The allegation of his involvement in the 2G spectrum scam made by his ex-colleague Raja, who is cooling heels now in Tihar Jail was seen as a plain case of an accused trying to defend him. Even if one  takes his  explanation of being ignorant of the misdeeds of Raja and Dayanidhi Maran, he  cannot escape his  moral responsibility of dereliction of duty which, given the gravity of offense, should have constituted enough of the substantive circumstantial evidence to impel him to resign his  Prime Ministership and set a precedent for others .

Unfortunately, this Caeser’s wife theory applies in other’s case, but when it comes to one’s own case, the intoxication of power is too alluring and too succumbing for one to relinquish it. It is as good as applauding Bhagat Singh born in a neighbour’s house but when the matter of coping with Bhagat Singh in one’s own house is concerned, the taste is always bitter in one’s mouth.

Fourth, while the Prime Minister blames Mr Hazare for an unwarranted representation of the people’s cause, he blissfully tends to be ignorant of his own indiscretion. While Hazare appears to him  as a usurping  trespasser who is bent on distorting the system, he has been deliberately subverting it to   make it more and more amenable to corruption, lubricating the system to facilitate it’s molestation by the privileged few who the  system so benevolently  seek to nurture and cultivate  at the cost of the vast sea of  humanity who are treated like  mushrooms sprouting everywhere and are destined to die like flies—their earthly  journey  being condescendingly  inconsequential—too insignificant to have any meaningful attention. 

Fifth, why has he intermittently chosen to go in hibernation while India burns, remains hitherto a mystery to the baffled and confused citizens of this country.   It has often appeared to the benumbed masses that this ruling coalition has no leader, it is a rudderless government whose head prefers to be headless when the mass of people inquisitively and curiously look for the guiding and towering head that should pop up while ironically it stoops dwarfed, failing to attract any conceivable attention.

The impression that one got during the last three months over the question of Lokpal Bill was that the Prime Minister was either being too weak to assert himself or he took things for granted and left the whole thing in the hands of some of his cabinet colleagues – cabinet colleagues who tried to outsmart each other in their one up-manship to give an impression of being a leader in his own style.
The challenge to Mr Hazare by AICC spokesperson Manish Tewari to contest from Chandni Chowk and win the election to proves this point.  Mr Tewari also went to the extent of calling Hazare as the most corrupt man himself who defies the logic of being a crusader against corruption.  It is time that the people of India remind the Prime minister that he should have the guts and courage to apply the same parameter of CAESAER’S wife in his own case and resign gracefully rather than continue adding a burden of far greater sins with the passing of each day.

Unfortunately, both the Prime Minister and the Congress party have been sitting on the prestige point and are not prepared to admit any mistake. It is that show of arrogance and cockiness which is going to create a bigger political storm across the country in the coming days and Dr Manmohan Singh should fear the day when the people should take to violence. Then it would be just next to impossible for the government to control the mob furry. I hope, I am proved wrong but my gut feeling is that the government is perhaps still not seized of the level of simmering anger and disgust against it across the country. The sooner they realize this better for health and future of this country.

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