Today is a day when no one can blame the government. An amicable solution appeared to have been worked out during the day yesterday with the PM himself taking conciliatory steps, but by the end of the day it was off. The solution was that Anna’s Jan Lokpal Bill would be discussed in Parliament – and all MPs would get a chance to directly have a look at it. If Anna had any misgivings – unfounded as they were – that the full house would never get to hear his views, those were removed. The government also agreed to have a discussion in Parliament today……agreeing to meet the demand for passing the bill by August 30th atleast symbolically. When I went to sleep last night, I was hoping Anna would have called off his fast by the morning. However, when I read the updates this morning, I realized that the demand that only the Jan Lokpal Bill should be adopted had re-surfaced. The fast was very much on. The drama was going to continue for some more time. Anna’s team appeared hell bent on attacking Parliament’s prerogative to enact laws. Anna’s conduct appeared akin to that of an invader of the olden days; attacking the very foundation of
’s democracy. Anna was an invader; no longer a mere crusader. Anna the invader wanted to be bigger than Parliament. India
This movement lost its direction many days back. It’s moved away from the central issue of corruption long back. It’s no longer about which bill is the stronger bill. And what’s best for the country. It’s all an ego issue now. Anna’s ego is making it impossible to find a solution. Anna’s demands keep shifting. I remember a few days back, his demand appeared to be that Parliament should at least consider their bill. Whatever Parliament decided was acceptable to him. Later, the demand shifted to become that the government must withdraw their bill and introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill. Still later, it shifted to a pure blackmail with the demand becoming that Parliamentary procedure and protocol must be given a go-by; so that the Jan Lokpal bill could be adopted in the next few days. And yesterday, after agreeing to withdraw the fast once Parliament passed a resolution promising to enact a strong Lokpal Bill, Anna appears to have shifted the demands yet again; now it appears he has gone back to his previous maximalist demand – his bill or nothing at all. I am sorry, but I as a citizen of this country, am extremely disappointed with Anna. What kind of a tamasha is this? Is this a fight for a corruption-free society or is this an ego issue for Anna? If I am pushed to choose (and I hope I don’t have to) between having a weaker Lokpal Bill (but with Parliament’s authority protected) and a stronger Lokpal bill (but with Parliament’s authority demolished) I would perhaps (and very sadly) choose the latter. I can wait for another movement to make the Lokpal bill stronger. But I cannot watch democracy being trampled all over. Who are these people who are so openly and unashamedly hijacking Parliament? Are they a bunch of invaders who have come to take over my country?
Is Anna the invader of has this saintly man been taken over by his team? Is Anna the real leader of the movement at all or is he merely a puppet in the hands of his team? It appeared that the solution brokered earlier yesterday was made possible because of Anna’s direct involvement in the talks. That meant that till then, Anna was not himself involved in the talks with the government. I find that impossible. Anna’s team is a well-oiled, well-knit unit, that keeps going back to Anna all the time. It is difficult to imagine that this obduracy is entirely on account of Anna’s team. In an age of so much media, is it all all possible that Anna was unaware of the developments? Of the growing criticism for his methods? If he had disagreed with his team, surely he would have known and he could have instructed it to mend its ways? Frankly, I think the problem is something else. The problem is that there is not just one leader in this movement. All of Anna’s team members want to be leaders. All of them want to be on stage waving the flag; speaking and inciting the audiences. All of them want to be on TV. All of them want to operate in the impractical realm that leaders often operate in. None of them has the practical sense that is required to bring a leader’s impractical demands to to a more practical solution. None of them have the gumption to figure out when enough is enough. Anna’s team is a drag; but not in the sense that it keeps Anna in the dark. It’s a drag in the sense that it is unable to add value and restraint to Anna’s movement.
It appears also that our politicians will never change. The BJP has got panned recently for its double-speak on the Jan Lokpal bill. Was it supporting it fully or was it also opposed to it in parts? Two days back, SS Ahluwalia, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha mentioned that there were points of disagreements that the BJP had with Anna’s Bill. We now know those points of disagreements. In essence, they are the same points that most people have disagreements with. Well, we would expect that in the Parliamentary debate today, they would bring out these disagreements. But no…..late last night, it appears that they have had talks with Team Anna and they have told them that they are OK with the Jan Lokpal Bill. That’s great; so will you please now state that in Parliament? Or will you say something to Anna and the people on TV; and later say something else in Parliament? One has to give credit to the Left for being consistent. They haven’t changed their position at all. But the BJP? Cant say that about them!
In any case, the time for such private parleys with Anna is long over. The day of reckoning is today. During the Parliamentary debate, each party should clearly spell out their points of disagreements and agreements with Anna. And the resolution must clearly capture the fact that no single Bill can be passed in its current form at this point in time; and that all bills will be referred to the Standing Committee. There is NO urgency to pass any particular bill without a proper discussion. Protecting Parliament’s authority is more important than passing Anna’s version of the Bill.
The real truth is that Anna is looking more and more like an invader. He’s morphed from being a well intentioned crusader to an invader who has huge disdain for Indian democracy and its Parliamentarians. It’s not the Lokpal Bill that he is interested in any longer; it’s the demolition of Parliament that he is interested in. That’s why he called all Parliamentarians “gaddars”. Now that this is obvious, Parliament should know what it has to do……