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JanLokpal Bill – the Larger Game Plan

December 26, 2011

The nation is riveted by the process of enactment of a law and amazingly it is about an Ombudsman Bill that has caught such attention. I will not go into the details of the proposed bill by the now most famous actors who call themselves the civil society and the media calls them Team Anna. I have discussed earlier in my writings of the enactment of a law that can be so all embracing that has the legislature, the executive as well as the judiciary under its ambit. But their influence does not end there. They are also supposed to be the watch dog for the media and the various NGO’s. They will keep a tab on the bureaucracy and that includes the defense forces. It is amazing how all this is being played out.

Prashant Bhushan says that Team Anna would like to do away with the present parliamentary system where there is a representative of the people in the parliament and would rather go in for a system where people have a direct voice. I do not know what form he is alluding to but my guess is that he means a system of constant referendum on every issue in this huge country of 120 cr people. My fear is that it will ultimately lead to a communist structure with a single party system. I have my doubts whether the man believes in multi party democracy.

Team Anna’s insistence that the CBI be made autonomous sounds good till one finds that they want the CBI under the Lokpal with all administrative powers of promotions, transfers etc. How does the CBI become transparent and independent if it is under a Lokpal who is not answerable to anyone? They go on to say that if the government does not want to give the CBI under the Lokpal then they must form another investigative agency that is directly under the Lokpal. The problem is that they want to have complete control from the time when a purported graft is registered to the time the verdict is announced. This is not an Ombudsman – this is totalitarian machinery with Stalinist control.

This whole JanLokpal debate has not come about in a vacuum. There have been forces out to weaken this country for some time now.  The Maoist threat has seen thousands lose their lives and live a life of fear where these ultra-Left brigands are in control. The defense forces have seen a spate of litigations slapped on the officers posted in J&K and in the North East on frivolous human rights issues. More than a thousand officers of the Indian army have been suspended when the army is short of officers, as it were. This is an attempt to weaken the country from within. Our security is under threat.

The other method employed to stem India’s growth is to agitate wherever new industrial plants or strategic assets are coming up. The case of Posco steel plant in Orissa is still fresh in people’s minds. Earlier there were vociferous campaigns against the Tehri Dam and later the Narmada Bachao Andolan that targeted the Sardar Sarovar. Self styled activists like Medha Patekar and Arundhati Roy were at the fore front in these ‘uprisings’.  Lately there have been constant protests outside the Koodakulam Nuclear Plant and at the proposed site for a nuclear plant in Ratnagiri. The idea is to make sure that India does not get these strategic assets. There are many other such cases where projects were delayed or have had to be scrapped due to constant agitation against them instigated by the same faces.

The fact is that ultra Left leaning NGO’s are having a free hand in whatever they want to do. Somehow they seem to have access to the highest echelons in the land. There are no rules for them and they seem to be a law unto themselves. They have infiltrated in the media big time. The case of ISI agent and the convener of Kashmir Action Center, Ghilam Nabi Fai  had big names from Indian media as his guests in conferences he held in the US, Prominent among them were Arundhati Roy, Dilip Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar, Kuldip Nayyer, Rajinder Sachchar, Angana Chatterjee and several others. He has claimed that he also had many Indian cabinet ministers as his guests. Media personalities and politicians hobnobbing with an ISI agent is not something that can be brushed under the carpet. These people must be investigated and punished as per law. But the law has been overlooked – it is as if for these exalted personalities there are different laws or no laws, at all. Radha Kumar and Dilip Padgaonkar were a part of the three member fact finding panel on Kashmir appointed by the government of India!

The UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has something called a National Advisory Council. A glance at the members of this panel is enough to conclude that it is a conglomeration of Leftists who are there to advice Mrs Gandhi. These people have an agenda of their own and while they may claim to have been instrumental in bringing about Right to Information Act and the NAREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and may claim it as a great achievement, it is also true that Mrs. Gandhi has enough talent within her own party and in the parliament such that she did not need to look outside. Many of the members of the NAC are a part of the NCPRI (National Campaign for People’s Right to Information). Ms. Aruna Roy is the leading light of this organization and Arvind Kajeriwal of Team Anna is supposed to be her prodigy. These people wield disproportionate influence in the government and have stymied many a decisions in the Cabinet to the detriment of the interests of the nation. The inter-operability clause between India and US is still languishing largely because of the veto of this motley group with dubious credentials.

The UPA has its own political agenda. They have used these ultra Leftists to make life difficult for BJP governments in Gujarat and in other states where there is a BJP led government. People like Teesta Setlvad are close to the Congress while they are card holding members of the Communist Party of India – their mission – to nail Narendra Modi and his government in lawsuits such that they cannot function. They also targeted BS Yeddyurappa, the former Karnataka Chief Minister and the BJP top brass rather than fight the onslaught politically thought it prudent to force Yeddyurappa to quit. The Left radicals are the dirty tricks department of the Congress and the UPA and therefore wield disproportionate influence in their scheme of things.

The BJP has reacted by siding with Team Anna when they saw that the Left radicals were at collision course with the UPA. My guess is that they want to make life difficult for the Congress and that is the sole reason why they are supporting Team Anna to the hilt. It becomes almost obscene the way Team Anna tries to distance themselves from the BJP and the Sangh Parivar because ideologically they are at two ends of the spectrum. Yet the BJP latches on to their coat tails unashamedly. The BJP calculation is that Anna movement is a widespread popular movement and they must latch on to it to come to power, besides they are making the life of the Congress and the UPA difficult and that is music to the ears of the top leadership of the BJP. Congress is also treading cautiously. They do not want to disown the Comrades totally as they have been useful in needling the BJP for long and have nuisance value if nothing else. They also do not want to attack Team Anna too vigorously as they will be seen to be for corruption and graft. As it is there have been too many cases of corruption during their tenure and they would like the people to forget about them all.

The truth of the matter is that the BJP has read the situation absolutely wrong.  There are almost 4.5 crore government employees both at the Center and the States including the Defense forces. If each has on the average 5 dependants that comes to more than 20 crore people. There is hardly any family where someone or the other is not an employee of the government. The draconian, absolutist JanLokpal Bill plans to bring all these employees under its ambit. No government employee will vote for a party that supports the JanLokpal Bill. BJP is sticking out like a sore thumb. This is similar to the ridiculous India Shining campaign of the early 2000’s. BJP’s numbers in the parliament will get reduced if they continue supporting the JanLokpal Bill in toto or with minor modifications. Nowhere in the world does an Ombudsman or a grievance redressal system given such sweeping powers. There is a real danger to democracy from this so called anti-graft mechanism. People should be educated about the dangers that lie ahead were the nation to go ahead with this proposed monstrous body called Lokpal. It is the bounden duty of the political parties and political leadership to educate the masses about the pitfalls.  Everyone wants a corruption free society, but it is also true that there is a way to go about it. The JanLokpal Bill which will sit over and above the legislature, executive and judiciary not to talk of the media is certainly not the way.

Most of the members of the so called civil society are NGO’s. Remarkably the Lokpal both in the government bill and in the JanLokpal Bill will monitor graft in the more than 50 lakh NGO’s that abound. How can the same people who run NGO’s check graft in these organizations? A separate watch dog must be instituted to keep a tab on the working of the NGO’s and graft in the media. The Lokpal cannot be entrusted with this onerous task.

What stunned me most was when I heard Brinda Karat pronounce that the Lokpal should also oversee corporate graft. This is nothing but a concerted effort to bring the nation to a screeching halt. I foresee mass resignations from government jobs and the bureaucracy refusing to make any decisions were the JanLokpal Bill passed in the House. This is the most serious assault on Indian democracy in our 64 years of independent history. We must do our utmost to stop any such moves. Lastly, the party that stands up to Team Anna and calls a spade a spade stands to gain the most politically. The BJP should not let another chance slip by to form the government in 2014.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Arun Bhagat permalink
    December 28, 2011 2:36 pm

    An interesting perspective!
    Agreed that absolute power to the Janlokpal could have a negative effect on the functioning of the Government, because they will not take decisions due to fear.
    However, the loot of the nation by politicians needs to stop, and Anna is a symbol for that protest by the general public. If u were at the Ramlila Maidan for the protest, you would realise that the show was a success only because the aam admi supported it. The NGOs and the Communists are trying to cash on the situation. But Anna’s Victory will be the victory of the general public, who do not know much about the intricasies of the Bill, but they have faith in Team Anna, hence they are supporting it.

    Atlast the aam admi has a leader, and the politicians have to be answerable to the public. I see it as a positive development for our democracy…. what is a democracy if there is no Voice of the Public…?

    • sharma24 permalink*
      December 28, 2011 5:31 pm

      I have no doubt that Anna’s intentions are good. But as they say that sometimes the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I have no issues with Anna, it is the Team Anna that makes me reflect on this whole charade of ‘fight against corruption’. The consequences of any such all embracing, monstrous Lokpal will be disastrous.
      The people behind this movement are the same as in other ‘movements’ with dubious intentions. We must fight against JanLokpal Bill with all our might.

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