Were you pissed off too with the way our esteemed MP”s conducted themselves in the Parliament? The way they made a mockery of the Lokpal bill? Here’s what Cacofonix, my guest blogger has to say about this farce…
Give Anna some credit. At least he got everyone in Parliament to attend Parliament, that too over the holiday week when most Parliamentarians have other pressing matters to attend to, like checking out Kiwi cultivation techniques in Phuket or how Santa’s kinky helpers dress up in Sin City. So, here we were, proud citizens of India, glued to our television sets, fitfully watching our tax money spent in mind-numbing debate on the subject of the Lokpal Bill. If you had high-definition TV, you could even count the number of ear hairs flailing in the wind as Lalu held his ground, hurling insult at retired cops and retired truck drivers who are holding the nation to ransom. Or you could measure to the nearest millimeter the extent of venom-hardened tartar that dentists have to scrape out from Sushma Swaraj’s defiant dentifrice.
Through several days of incessant coverage of the proceedings in the upper and lower houses, of the debates on TV and of the dwindling crowds at Team Anna’s venues, we got educated at great length on the finer points of the Lokpal Bill. Is it introduced under Article 252 or 253? What about section 24 of the Bill? Maybe clauses 63 through 97 should be struck off. I loved the drama and marveled at how such debates provide our lawmakers and party spokespersons the opportunity to take the attention of 1.2 billion people away from the basic premise that started it all – to have an effective law against corruption.
I think there will be many who feel disappointed at the way in which Anna Hazare’s movement panned out. I have not agreed with his ways, his views, and the undue haste with which the public at large built a halo around him. But the immense upside I have always acknowledged is that he managed to galvanize the nation on the one topic that drags us down everyday – rampant corruption across all levels of the administration. There were millions out there in the first wave because they liked the refreshing absence of insincere politicians from the podiums. It was truly a people’s movement and it energized the youth. There was palpable hope and a groundswell of public anger against this social evil. The optimist in me hoped that all this will finally start to make life difficult for the corrupt, even if the Lokpal Bill may not see light of day. However, by changing tack – from being an apolitical movement to an overly political one targeted against the Congress ‘because they did not bring an effective bill’ – Team Anna has no idea of the huge constituency they have lost and let down. Even while tactically calling off his fast at MMRDA grounds, Anna’s final answer was ‘Congress’, when TV reporters pointed out that all political parties have played their part in operation Kill Bill.
Dirty politics has won once again. All that muck, dug up by minions of the ministries and unwitting investigative journalists, worked. Kiran Bedi travelling coach while billing business class for her NGO. From the view point of wrongdoing, this is a mere peccadillo when you compare Praful Patel and his ilk buying coach and travelling business class, misusing taxpayer money. Just an instance of where the contrasts show and why Team Anna’s political naiveté will not let them succeed in the electoral playground.
My view has always been this. We are a nation of law-breakers. Bringing in another law will give us one more law to break or circumvent. The most corrupt in our society have this abiding faith that ‘the law will take its own course’ – which generally translates to getting away with even murder, with the occasional inconvenience of a few days spent in lavish luxury in jail under medical supervision. It was inane of us to think that a roomful of law makers will make a law that will go against their very grain. Nine out of ten politicians want to get elected for the pelf and the power and the red beacon on their cars. At the height of the Anna sympathy wave, Yeddyurappa was at his brazen worst, playing caste politics and dictating terms to his tulsi-washed central leadership and hanging on like a leech to his position of influence. The BJP ended up merely putting someone to keep the chair warm while Yeddy figures out a way to come back. Why did Anna not go hammer-and-tongs at the BJP for this mockery?
It isn’t the law, it is the system. That’s what has to change. The system has to make greasing palms irrelevant. There are enough success stories in sunrise sectors that prove it can happen in our country. So, it is our policies and procedures that have to become transparent, leveraging modern technology and ushering in e-governance, so that you and I can go about living in dignity. In my view, we cannot let the Wrong happen first. And then try to contain the consequences through law. It is as hypocritical as Mayawati Behen first employing a gallery of rogues as her ministers, and then upholding her morality card by sacking two of them every day over the last ten days.
In our political playgrounds, it is rajniti, or rather kutniti that rules – instead of Nyaya. Political expediency and diplomatic chicanery – instead of Justice. They could have spared us the agony and torture of all those Parliamentary debates, all those barbs hurled at civil society, all those pompous expressions of misplaced indignation, all those vacuous and puerile objections, if in the end all they wanted was to scuttle the Bill – with 187 amendments.
Election season ushers in next month. Care to vote? What choices do we have?