If ever there was proof required that the so called “civil society” was working in cahoots with the BJP, it is there for everyone to see now. As soon as Prashant Bhushan filed a PIL against Kapil Sibal’s decision on fixing the tariff for Reliance Communications, the BJP spokespeople jumped on to criticizing the Congress. No other political party has even had the time to study the PIL – leave alone criticize Kapil Sibal – but the BJP has been at the forefront already. It appears they had an idea of what the PIL stated even before it was filed.
This reminds me of “The Almighty”, a book written by Irwing Wallace, which talks about the scion of a media moghul who has to inherit his father’s media business. But the father is a tough taskmaster. He’s set a condition for his son to fulfill before he can inherit his father’s business. For one day.....just one day.....he has to make his
newspaper (which is usually the #2 newspaper in NY) the number 1 newspaper in the city. This obviously proves to be a damn difficult target to achieve. So, the son hits upon the strategy of “making news”.....plots to have the Pope killed.....at a time of the night when no other newspaper (except his) can print the information in the morning papers.....and goes on to satisfy the condition. While the story relates to the powers of media and the scams within, the story that is being played out in New York is more devious. The main opposition party is “making the news”, “using the civil society” and “stealing the thunder”. Its partner in crime here is obviously civil society. Together, they are plotting strategies to bring the ruling coalition down..... India
The main opposition party is being smart. By signing up civil society onto its side, it has tapped into the goodwill that this “institution” enjoys in the minds of common people. In a climate where government bashing is welcomed openly, whatever is said by this august group is taken as the gospel truth. And then, every now and then, the “spin” that is given by media is used to accentuate the implications of the strategy.
Take the recent PIL filed by Prashant Bhushan against Kapil Sibal. The allegation is that Reliance Comm should have been fined Rs 650 crores whereas Kapil Sibal used his “discretionary” powers to reduce that fine to Rs 5 crores or so. One would expect in a PIL to be served some form of “evidence” to back the allegation. Apparently, the proof provided is wafer thin. It’s a charge....that has very little substance to back it.
Forget the substance. The intention of this PIL appears not to be to “win”; but to cause damage to Kapil Sibal and the government. It’s a political move. At a time when Kapil Sibal has taken a hard line against civil society’s draft of the Lokpal Bill, what better way to push him back that to accuse him personally of wrong doing? A defensive minister would be bound to tone down his stand. Since the court will take months, if not years, to settle the PIL, the battle in real earnest will be fought in media. That’s where instant hearings are conducted and verdicts pronounced almost every single day. Kapil Sibal has no chance at all. In the media, and in the reader’s minds, he’s already been pronounced guilty. No matter what he will offer as explanation, it will all be discounted by the cynical people of the country. That’s the real intention of the PIL. Not to come to the truth, but to politically slay an opponent.
Kapil Sibal has given some explanation, which the press has reported. But like I mentioned the truth hardly matters to a country ceased as it is in political whodunits like never seen before. Apparently, the figure of Rs 650 crores is just someone’s imagination. The fee suggested by the appropriate authority was some Rs 13 crores, but since RComm had corrected the wrongs, the penalty was to be calculated using a different provision. That number was Rs 5 crores. So apparently, there was no misuse of discretionary powers.
Frankly, how this qualifies to be a PIL is difficult to understand. Simply because it is a decision taken by a minister? By that logic, all decisions taken by the minister should be challenged in the form of PILs. Because PILs are being misused, even the SC is getting upset with them. There is already a plan to modify the terms under wich PILs can be filed. In the past, some courts have even penalized those who have filed frivolous PILs and wasted the court’s time. In this case, it is clear that this is a political battle between the BJP and the Congress and Prashant Bhushan is merely a go-between for the BJP to exploit. There is no way that this complaint can be called a PIL at all.
Prashant Bhushan is taking advantage of the credibility and reputation that Anna Hazare enjoys in public minds today. Like Ramdev tried to do. Ramdev proved to be a joker and was thrown off the center stage (quite literally!). It’s a question of time before Prashant Bhushan enjoys the same fate. Given the charge against Anna himself that he is a BJP stooge (he has never criticized the BJP in the last so many months as if it were devoid of corruption....never criticized Karnataka.....praised Narendra Modi....its apparent really), Prashant Bhushan’s recent PIL is seen obviously as a political maneuver. This kind of political activity takes the focus away from the fight against corruption. Just like Ramdev weakened the anti-corruption movement, so also are such frivolous political shenanigans of Prashant Bhushan harming the movement.
The real truth is that the country is suffering enormously because of the overdose of politics in our lives. While
marches ahead with big ticket investments, we are stuck in a stage of deep freeze. Every other day, the BJP demand the resignation of some or the other minister. They have been demanding the PM’s resignation for long now. Then they started demanding Chidambaram’s resignation. And now they will demand Kapil Sibal’s resignation. It’s a pure political game plan with no bother on the implications on the country. By using civil society to do its bidding, the BJP is corrupting even this supposedly apolitical concept. It’s time the BJP introspects..... China