What Manmohan Singh government should do?
What the Congress party must be doing by now?
How the Indian Opposition parties are failing in their duty?
But the Indian government and still more the very largely obliging Indian media, both the TV channels and the print media seem to be very obliging to the government. They have reported and showed how the Prime Minister seems unmoved by the peaceful agitation launched by social activist Anna Hazare. As we write Anna is still inside the Tihar jail and he is reported to be leaving the jail premises late in the afternoon. Where? To the Ramlila grounds from where, ironically, the late Jayaprakash Narayan threw the challenge to the then mighty Indira Gandhi! What came of the JP challenge? Everyone must only be painfully aware of it.
Now, the challenge, the immediate challenge is for everyone who has the good of the Indian democracy, more so the challenges to our country from every quarter, from foreign powers, big and small and every neighbouring country that looks to India as a beacon of hope and political stability, there are some urgent things to do.
As it is, the Congress party is non-functional with Sonia Gandhi away in the USA.As for Rahul Gandhi, he must be seen as acting. Unfortunately he is not seen at all. This is very damaging to the public morale. Apart from his other capabilities, this time he is the one person who is kept at centre stage. The party without Rahul acting is in a crisis situation.
The Congress Working Committee(CWC)must meet and give some directions to the otherwise, very prim and proper-looking PM and his lawyer-turned Cabinet colleagues who are only adding fuel to the agitators.
The PM’s statement is right only in terms of form. It is totally misconceived in terms of political processes, we mean democratic processes.
There must be many interlocutors by now to go and meet Anna in jail and persuade him to see reason and come to some compromise.
This can be done by Gandhians and other NGOs and even by some ministers.
The one more alternative is to send an all-party delegation to meet Anna and his team.
The third alternative is of course to send a MPs team.
After all, the PM says Parliament is supreme. So, let the Parliamentary delegation sit with Ana and deliberate.
If needed the MPs, representing all parties and all perspectives, in terms of ideologies, from Right to Left and strike some compromises.
Of course in such negotiations some crucial concessions can’t be thrown up in the very beginning and they may come later at the end of the discussions.
As for the crucial compromises, after all what is wrong in conceding the demand of the agitators. There is a nation-wide support for Anna’s agitation. So, the PM can be legitimately brought under the Lokpal. Call it by any name. See reason.
The entire world over wherever there are Ombudsman, there are uniform, in the sense all the high office holders are treated as equals. This we have explained and indicated in our earlier edits and email blogs.
The Scandinavian model Ombudsman is very clear.
Even here in the beginning the PM himself volunteered to offer his office under the purview of Lokpal.
What is wrong now to concede the demand?
Now, the image of the higher judiciary, there is as we write one impeachment against a high court judge is simultaneously going on along with Anna’s agitation! Irony? Yes, it is supreme irony when we are discussing the wisdom of adding the higher judiciary under the ambit of the Lokpal.
Also, another bad example is one former CJI, who is now heading, again a greater irony(!), he is heading the National Human Rights Commission .He is also accused of corruption.
So, where we in India are heading?
There must be a clear message to the country. There must be a bold gesture at this hour of crisis.
The PM is, let us not forget, not as representative as the unofficial leader, Anna Hazare. So, the PM’s speech in both the houses of Parliament is only formally correct. Informally, or in terms of political philosophy or democratic spirit is totally unconvincing.
The PM can’t do more than what he has done or what he has spoken.
As for his colleagues, the home minister is very arrogant and very rigid too in his explanation of the relevant laws and their provisions to detain Anna etc.
He has in fact spoilt the case. As for Kapil Sibal, where does he come in. He is already in hiding so to say the agitators had targeted him for the many unpardonable language he has used against Anna and the provisions of the government bill.
Yes, only elected members of Parliament can only enact law. But then, as Anna has pointed out the very MPs, a very big number are reported to be corrupt, with criminal records and the whole country knows how much an MP spends for getting elected. So, the government Lokpal Bill stands discredited.
So, it must go.
That is the message of the three day nation-wide agitation.
The Prime Minister hasn’t addressed the nation-wide crowd of peaceful agitators, from all ages and from all walks of life.
So, the PM must address the nation through the TV channels.
There is not much to expect from the current stance of the government machinery.
The initiative must come from the party ranks.
The CWC must be active. Where is the party’s traditional springs of spontaneous mass support?
The whole story of the party functioning is very disgusting. No PCCs, no DCCs and no AICC!
So, the CWC too, in its present constitution doesn’t represent the traditional reps of mass base. They are all nominated and they have no responsibility, it seems.
Where are the bold hearts, brave hearts, and the patriotic voices?
At this hour of crisis for the Indian government and the Congress party there is much to introspect and act.
If we dither and somehow stand on false prestige, who knows, the government might even fall and make way for greater crisis and confusion.
As for the major Opposition parties, the BJP seems to be waiting in the wings without a clue to clear stand on the Lokpal Bill.
This would only rebound on the party in the next elections and after.
So, the three alternative immediate channels must be explored. Please act, the Prime Minister and Rahul Gandhi has a great task. A great opportunity to show his leadership skills.