Saturday, June 4, 2011

Will Anna ask the BJP to clarify its stand on the Lokpal Bill?

I was shocked to read that the BJP has written back to the government that they cannot offer their views on the contentious parts of the proposed Lokpal Bill. I had thought the party would be in a jam if put in a tough situation like this (my post of May 31st, titled “Anna style terrorism to strike India again....”); but I had not anticipated that it would outright refuse to give its comments. I had thought that they would hem and time (something they accuse the government of doing), but I had never expected an outright refusal. The true colors of the party are out there now for everyone to see.

The official excuse given is that the party cannot offer its views whenever the government finds it “expedient” to ask for them. I don’t quite understand what this means. The government normally consults the opposition parties whenever there is something very big being considered for making into a law. Especially if the law could have a very profound impact on the polity of the country. Especially also, if the states would get affected by the law. For eg., there is an ongoing and continuous debate going on, on the subject of GST. Since the GST would subsume many state taxes into itself, the states have to be consulted. Since it’s a change that could affect the country in a huge way, the opposition parties are consulted frequently. In fact, the Chairman of the committee of state finance minister that was helping make the GST law was headed by an opposition FM – Ashim Dasgupta of West Bengal. This is usual in a Parliamentary form of democracy. In a similar way, the Congress has asked the BJP for its views on the Lokpal Bill.

What’s so unusual about this? The BJP has its representatives on every TV channels. They appear to have extremely strong views on corruption. They appear to have supported the Anna movement to the hilt. They are the first ones to criticize the government for every action it does or does not do on the Lokpal Bill. In fact, the BJP has tried to take the high ground on corruption in every single debate. Forgetting its own hidden skeletons in all states ruled by its party. Forgetting its inability to answer why it did nothing to enact the Lokpal Bill or get the black money stashed abroad during its six-years tenure. Forgetting its party president claiming funnily that the  Karnataka BJP CM Yeddyurappa was “morally” wrong, but “legally” right. Forgetting all this, the BJP has tried to gain political capital out of the corruption issue.

Why then would the party be afraid to share its views? Is it that the party really does not mean what it states in media? Is it that it is secretly hoping that the harsh terms being demanded by the civil society activists are not accepted....but it doesn’t want to be seen as the party that wasn’t willing to accept them? Is it hunting with the hounds and running with the hares here? What are its real views if there are any at all? Does it believe that the PM and the senior judiciary should be covered by the Lokpal? After all, it may have a PM of its own in the future....surely parliamentary democracy demands that the chief opposition party be consulted? Does it support Anna’s demands? And now Baba Ramdev’s? Does it believe in the ridiculous demand of awarding the death penalty in cases of corruption? Won’t that make India a Taliban state? Do they think India should abolish the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes? The BJP needs to clarify where it stands on these issues. Not doing so will be a clear admission of its duplicity.

The party has indeed always been known for its duplicity. It is known to support a strong Indian relationship with the US. It itself initiated efforts to get a special nuclear deal with the US. Why then did it create so much opposition when the deal came up for voting in parliament? Why did the party vote against the Bill when in secret parleys with the US, it apparently claimed that all this was mere political posturing? Again, on the GST, it appeared throughout to be supporting the amendment....why did it then do an about turn somewhere in-between? Was it because it suddenly lost its conviction or was it as a political response to the Congress breathing down Narendra Modi in Gujarat? What about nuclear power? Does the party support it? I think it does, but its reps speak in differing tones in media.

The BJP obviously likes to be in the zone where they are allowed to take the high ground on every subject.....and push back on the Congress.....yet they don’t have to clarify anything officially. In this political strategy, it is aided by the polarized media that we have. Times Now is a clear pro-BJP simply refuses to grill the BJP as much as it does the Congress. CNN-IBN can’t make up its mind on which party it supports.....but most of the time, the desire for high TRPs drives them to be anti-establishment. Will these channels now ask the BJP for a formal response on the questions asked? Will they allow the BJP to get away with arbitrary excuses....or will they make sure the party reps clarify the party’s stand? Or should we expect NDTV to do this? After all, it’s obvious that the channel is anti-BJP.

Maybe Anna should come out and demand that the BJP clarifies its position. So far, they have conveniently said that anyone who supports their agitation is welcome. That it is apolitical even though I have suspected a BJP/RSS hand behind him. He must know what kind of people are supporting their agitation. I have often said that amongst Anna’s followers at Jantar Mantar would be a whole bunch of guys who avoid taxes....and hence are corrupt. I have also said that Anna has kept bad company in the Bhushans. Now will Anna take the support of a political party which did nothing when it’s time was there and which now refuses to come in the clean??

The real truth is that everything about this corruption debate is a fraud. Anna’s style was a fraud. His supporters are all fraudsters. The TV channels who gave his agitation so much backing all are fraud (they have their own agendas). And the chief opposition party that seems to latch onto any opportunity to look good is all fraud. Baba Ramdev’s agitation is a fraud. The CAG’s estimation of the size of the 2G problem and its inability to understand the difference between policy and corruption is fraud too. All of this however also shows that the government of the day is weak. It listens to everything; everything scares it and confuses it. Instead of fighting back, it agrees to everything. This cannot go on for too long.....

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