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‘Kissingerism’ in Indian Politics

October 11, 2011

Henry Kissinger, the grand old statesman of American politics famously said – ‘there are no permanent  friends or foes in international relations, only permanent interests’. This truism is being taken to an extreme by the Indian political class. The political convictions are sidelined, the philosophies ignored and everyone is ready to bed with anyone else if their interests are achieved.

The three main protagonists in today’s politics at the national level are – the ruling UPA, the opposition NDA and remarkably a non-political outfit loosely termed as Team Anna. Team Anna is a conglomeration of individuals who call themselves ‘civil society’ and are Leftists by character. In fact those who have seen them closely vouch for the fact that these are not just Leftists but on the extreme end of the spectrum – the Maoists and have a totalitarian agenda. They have their extensions in National Advisory Council that has been constituted by Sonia Gandhi. They have their tentacles spread in judiciary, executive etc.  Their stated agenda is to fight corruption and to have clean politics in the country. They have promoted Anna Hazare, a Gandhian  as a front and are using him as a tool to further their interests. They have advanced a JanLokpal Bill the draft of which gives sweeping powers to the Ombudsman both at the Central level and down to the panchayats. They want to usurp power through deceit.

The NAC was constituted by Sonia Gandhi to advice the government on various issues. They did manage to give the nation the Right to Information which has made a difference, I must concede. But the agenda of the NAC is as much to check the rise of the BJP which the UPA feels threatened from. This conglomeration of ultra-Leftists is being used by the UPA to bludgeon the NDA at all points in time. Their sense of insecurity stems from the fact that BJP ruled states are performing exceptionally well and their support is growing. Now the NAC is proposing an Anti-Communal Violence Bill which stands to marginalize the rights of the majority and give an edge to the minorities. This is again political posturing as the NDA depends heavily on the majority Hindu votes and were the majority marginalized and bludgeoned the minority votes will consolidate for the UPA which they can leverage to their advantage knowing that Hindus are a divided house.

But the extreme Left that is the civil society has an agenda of its own. They are not content with being a tool in the hands of the Congress led-UPA to run down the BJP led NDA. They are as keen on power as is the ruling coalition. Their methods however are a bit different. They do not believe in democracy and multi-party system. Yet they are desperate to have a say in the functioning of the government. They have chosen back door entry into the political system. Their pet project is to get the JanLokpal Bill that they have drafted be accepted in toto by the government. Congress led UPA is wary of these moves. They are rightly concerned about an extra-constitutional body taking over the government and ruining the democratic setup that has served the nation so well. They are trying to ward off the threat that these Maoists turned civil society pose to the national democratic fabric. These Leftists have served the Congress well and have been useful tools in hitting out at the BJP led NDA. They are therefore careful not to go after Team Anna unrestrained. While the government did not hesitate to use brutal force against Baba Ramdev they were loathe to do the same when Anna Hazare sat on a fast. Yet check they must these Left marauders or else the monster that is the Left extremism will gobble up the government and the nation in one go. So they are prevaricating on the JanLokpal Bill and are trying to pass a diluted version that is their version which is absolutely unacceptable to the Left radicals that constitute Team Anna.  The simple reason being that then their strategic interest will not be achieved which is to usurp power by floating an institution that is over and above the elected executive and even the judiciary. Having managed to get Anna Hazare’s fast broken and confused the situation by placing other versions of the Lokpal Bill – one by Aruna Roy, another by Arundhati Roy and yet another by one Jaiprakash Narain the government thought they had bottled the genie that is the Civil Society in the garb of Team Anna. In fact they have used the friends of Team Anna like Aruna Roy and Arundhati Roy both known Maoist sympathizers to scuttle the JanLokpal Bill. Now Arvind Kejriwal, one of the prominent Team Anna members says that there is no Aruna Roy version or an Arundhati Roy version of the Lokpal Bill and that there is only one JanLokpal Bill that they have put forth. Evidently the Left brotherhood has come together and Aruna Roy and Arundhati Roy have been silenced by the Left Umma.

Aruna Roy is the same person who has been spearheading the NAC and has a vocal anti-BJP agenda. But that does not dissuade the BJP and the RSS to support the JanLokpal Bill. It is amazing how the BJP has found the JanLokpal Bill as a progressive, pro-democracy institution that will fight corruption at all levels. The truth of the matter is that the BJP is supporting the JanLokpal Bill to make life difficult for the Congress and to cash in on the anti-corruption sentiment that Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev movement have generated. BJP is in a hurry to come back to power. It appears they are ready to sup with the Devil if it ensures that they can get to the Delhi gaddi. BJP chief Nitin Gadkari has given in writing that his party will support the JanLokpal Bill and get it passed if they come to power. They know that the Bill is a direct assault on the democratic fabric of the nation yet to fight the Congress and to mobilize the masses that they feel are swayed by Anna‘s movement so as to come to power, they are ready to promise something that they know they will never be able to deliver. They are reaching out to a group of people who have been targeting them all through and who are after Narendra Modi, their Gujarat Chief Minister. ‘Kissingerism’ is being taken to an extreme in domestic politics of the nation to lengths which even the Old Fox would deem unreasonable.

The fun does not stop here. Team Anna is also fully aware that BJP and RSS are anathema to their ideology. But their thirst for surreptitious power is so great that they are ready to take the help of the Rightists in hopes that this will generate such massive outrage in the nation against corruption that the government will have no option but to accept the JanLokpal Bill as presented by Team Anna. Anyone is jumping into bed with just about anyone else to further their own interests.  It is comical the way things are going.

Congress is pointing out that Team Anna is taking help from RSS and the BJP and people like Prashant Bhushan are explaining with a straight face that anyone who is keen on ‘fighting corruption’ is welcome, if it means RSS and BJP then so be it! Advani has started a Rath Yatra to cash in on the corruption issue raised by Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare. That has raised the hackles of Team Anna, so Anna Hazare will also go on a long tour across the nation as the real savior of the people against graft. They are loathe to let Advani and the BJP hijack what they believe is their agenda and their USP, namely – the issue of corruption.  By pointing out that Team Anna is getting help from the rightists the Congress is weakening the very forces that they have used time and time again to bludgeon and are still using to attack BJP ruled states.  Yet they must because they have jumped into the bed with the rightists to further their interests to try and get the JanLokpal Bill any which way. Team Anna is therefore telling the voters in Hissar to vote for anyone but the Congress – calling it a referendum on JanLokapl, which it definitely is not. The Congress can’t believe what they are facing and are at sixes and sevens as to how to tackle this nuisance that is Team Anna and their obnoxious JanLokpal Bill. They had thought that by getting Anna Hazare to break his fast they had resolved the problem. They had further thought that they would pass a Lokpal Bill of their choice with limited powers to the Ombudsman that is the Lokpal in the Winter Session of Parliament. But the recent developments where Team Anna has upped the ante and Anna Hazare has threatened to go on a fast once again if the JanLokpal Bill is not passed has put the government in a fix. With Aruna Roy and Arundhati Roy withdrawing their versions of the Lokpal Bill the division in the Civil Society has also dissipated.  Clearly the government is in a bind.

The solution to this problem lies in democratic forces aligning and speaking as one against totalitarian forces, but then both will have to make sure they do not use such forces against each other. Is this possible?  With ‘Kissingerism’ the flavor of the political class as of now, any such sane moves look improbable if not totally impossible.


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