The agitation for the legislation of the anti-graft law comes to an end today- the Parliament of India has passed the Bill in the People’s House/ Lok Sabha this 18 December 2013. The Bill has been hailed as historic by some and a Joke Pal by others. Anna Hazare, whose crusade in 2011 fired the agitation initially, grew to be a nation wide campaign. The response and reaction of the Congress party and its government led to mass anger in the country. The contempt shown by them for the Anna led transparency movement gave birth to a new political party, Viz., the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). It captured the public imagination while the political establishment continued in its deep slumber. It was only the Delhi Assembly election results on 8 December which jolted the Congress and the BJP out of their slumber. The BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) lost the opportunity to form a government in Delhi even after an impressive 32 seats in its kitty. It came short by 4 seats to form a government in an assembly consisting of 70 numbers. The Congress suffered its worst rout by managing to secure only 8 seats. But its biggest shame was the surprising defeat of Shiela Dixit, its Chief Minister for 15 long years at the hands of Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief of the newly born political party AAP by a margin of more than 25500 votes! All as a result of the transparency revolution. The political managers were able to drive a wadge between Anna Hazare & Arvind Kejriwal, but by paying such a heavy price in the loss of the opportunity of forming the government and losing Delhi and other three state elections very badly. This explains the keenness of the government to get the anti graft legislation on the statute book before the scheduled General Elections in 2014. Hence the Lok Pal Bill has suddenly become “historic” for them. Utter humbug.
It is not as if India had no mechanism for punishing the corrupt. There is more than the required legal framework to bring the guilty to book. What is lacking is the implementation. There is no guarantee that the new legislation will bring any change in the implementation of the law. The reason is that it can’t be done unless the system gets cleaned from top to bottom: social change, candidates integrity and end to the relevance of money, muscle or other malpractices . The success of the AAP in the Delhi elections proved that it is not un-achievable: that is what has stunned everybody. The way the people chose to vote for the AAP candidates, the ordinary status of the candidates and the financing model through public donations is a new way to run a political party and election. It has yet to prove its efficacy as a council of ministers. This time, they are not going to form the government. Delhi is going for another election, may be simultaneously with the Lok Sabha election next year. Meanwhile, all efforts will be made to destroy the new party and its model. It is not Kejriwal or the Aam Aadmi Party which hold the biggest threat to the very existence of the existing political parties, but its ideology of transparency in elections and governance. If the Indian political establishment hates anything, it is such “strong” views on corruption (have they not been facing inquiries and court cases under the extant laws?). But if the people were to throw up such a surprise in the next Lok Sabha elections, it would be a silent revolution of a more potent kind than the freedom movement, Jasmine revolution, Arab Spring,Tehrir Square demonstration, Occupy Wall Street or the several agitations going on in the world currently. People are sick of corruption everywhere. People are agitated. People are bent upon changing the rulers. Democracy can’t become the rule of the plutocrats.
The Lok Pal is bound to put the fear of God in the hearts of the corrupt rulers in India.