Anna Calls Off Fast

The 3 day session of the Indian Parliament  from 27th to 29th December 2011 is devoted to the consideration and passing of the Lok Pal Bill. This has been dictated by the Transparency Revolution currently going on under the leadership of Anna Hazare, a 74 years young follower of the Father Of The Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Though the Civil Society has been carrying on this revolution in the best non- violent tradition of a Gandhian movement, it came under fire from all kinds of corrupt and patrons of corruption political powers, who were uncivil, filthy, vulgar, indecent, aggressive, violent and flippant towards the movement and its leadership. Their vanity knew no limits and they never thought obliged to frame any law for creating an anti corruption Ombudsman or Lokpal. So a hurriedly drafted Lokpal Bill, deficient in almost every respect, was introduced, considered and passed in just one day on 27th of December 2011. This was a sort of a historic victory for the Anna Lead anti corruption movement. It was necessitated as Anna started his hunger strike also from 27th December 2011 at Mumbai and his followers at Delhi & other cities. Anna was running high fever and was advised by the doctors to end his fast and take rest .These two developments- passing of the Bill and Anna down with fever-made the Anna Team to reconsider their plans for the agitation. They decided and ultimately succeeded in persuading Anna Hazare to not only end the fast but also withdraw the “fill the jails” or jail bharo aandolan for the time being. There is great confusion on the Bill. It has to go to the Rajya Sabha (the upper House of Parliament). There can be problems here and it may take time. If the passing takes a few months’ time under any pretext, it serves the purpose of the ruling party, especially  the Congress Party, who face elections to Legislative Assemblies in 5 states in the coming Jan & Feb. The fast and movement would have been untimely in the circumstance and it was only desirable that it was discontinued in the circumstances.

As is the habit with political parties, and their friendly media, they are asking questions whether it is a tactical retreat or acceptance of defeat by the Anna Team. Not really.Had Anna released the pressure slightly, even this premature baby of a Bill could not have been born! Had the political class the faintest  idea of Anna Hazare being so flexible, they would have withheld the introduction of the Bill under some pretext  and merely promised to bring it in the budget session  in March 2012. Anna & his Team have shown sagacity by not giving the politicians that allowance.

Anna Hazare has taken a very wise step at the most appropriate time.The political class has been compelled to acknowledge that(1) corruption has become intolerable now and has to be checked;(2)that there is adequate justification to create the office of the Lokpal to punish the corrupt;(3)that Anna has the backing of the whole nation in this anti-corruption movement;(4)that the ruling outfit stands to lose heavily in political terms if Anna Hazare starts the fast unto death or jail bharo aandolan;(5) that the coalition was sure to disintegrate without the law demanded by the civil society- which they were deriding as street movement;(6) that the kaagaz ke sher or the roaring jungle ke sher of the corrupted Indian polity were of no more genuine use than circus ke sher but it was no circus; (7) that the vituperation, vilifcation and berating of a follower of Mahatma Gandhi has already made them most despised in the estimation of the aam aadmi, who identified himself/herself more with Anna & his movement than Congress, Sonia, Rahul, Man Mohan Singh or any other politician;(8) that it was serious business and things could not be left anylonger for the bufoons, jesters, courtiers or mercinaries, since something concrete has to be shown to the people;(9) that a Bill has to be placed in the Lok Sabha, howsoever infirm its provisions may be, snce the aam aadmi does not understand all the fine points and it does not matter whether the Bill gets passed in the Rajya Sabha or comes out unscathed in any judicial scrutiny: if a Bill could not secure “consensus” of all the political parties for 40 years, there was no chance it getting it now. So better put the ball in the court of the political parties including the allies and then hand it over to the dirty trick department to do all the remaining dirty work,for the best was to create greater confusion to obfuscate the ordinary masses;(10) that this show piece of a Bill will create enough confusion and help divide the society on caste, communal, religious, linguistic, gender and regional grounds for many more decades than the proposal has been in cold storage, which will help harvest a rich electoral crop without doing any hard work at all.The best way to solve a problem is to create a greater problem and that exactly is what this Bill achieves without much effort

To meet the stratagums of the political class, Anna has made the best strategic move by breaking fast and postponing the jail bharo aandolan. Let us remember that 64 years of progressive corruption has hardened people’s thinking: they could give away their land in bhoodan earlier  but corruption has taught them now to grab as much land as possible. Any anti corruption movement hits them directly. Their numbers are simply mindboggling. The government has admitted it that if group C & D employees are also brought under the remit of the Lokpal, they will have to create a huge parallel bureaucracy under the LokPal. Take the Govt at its words! It is true. The numbers are indeed too high for any single agency to deal with them, be it the CBI or the Lokpal. It goes to the credit of Anna Hazare and the Civil Society that they successfully put the fear of the vote in the minds of the political class who were compelled to pass a Bill, howsoever deficient, before they lost the battle for ever.Neither corruption ceases here at this point NOR DOES THE ANTI-CORRUPTION MOVEMENT LED BY ANNA HAZARE.His detractors will only harm their political party by foul mouthing Anna or his team. The PM had to suffer for their fault in the House, including humiliation by proposing to make him the Lokpal. I don’t remember another such instance of humiliating the PM in the House when the whole nation was rivetted to the television! Will the Lokpal ever take precedence over the Prime Minister? Never. So making him Lokpal, that too for his honesty, is nothing less than humiliation.

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