So what was I pondering on after leaving the RLG on August 28? Let’s sum-up:
People are waiting for Anna to break his Fast. Like a move by some adept politicians, a Muslim and a Dalit girl are chosen to handover the juice or the coconut water to Anna.
- Was it really needed – why this combination?
- Was it a proper way to send political message to political opponents?
- Being political in fight against cunning politicians is not a bad thing but why to adopt such silly steps like sounding meticulous in finding these girls?
- Corruption is uniform to everyone; it is killing everyone. Couldn’t it be kept simple away from rhetoric of making such a noise on choosing these girls?
India is ruing because it has not been able to maximize the benefits of the unique affirmative action that it has followed since Independence. And so a Dalit, being very much like you and me, is still subjected to atrocities. When would we stop this tradition of name-calling?
- And the battle that the ‘Jan Lokpal’ should be has to be absolutely ideological giving no leeway to raise elements of suspicion which could further be substantiated.
- An ideological fight is much above the controversies of silly practices like appeasement, war of words, backtracking on words.
People are waiting for Anna to break his Fast. Anna breaks his Fast. Anna delivers his speech. He warns the government that his movement is under suspended motion and its activation depends on future course of events. He says, “I have only suspended my agitation. I will not rest until all the changes that I look to are achieved." He further says that the country can be proud of the victory as the Parliament has accepted his three demands - Citizen's charter, inclusion of lower bureaucracy and creation of Lokayuktas through Lokpal bill – to be referred to the Standing Committee for consideration. He broadens his canvas here by adding other dimensions to his area of active concern. He says, “We have to reform electoral system. (We need) Right to Reject. You should be able to reject your candidate in the ballot paper. We have to do that. "If majority say they do not like any of the candidates in the fray, the election should be cancelled. How much money they (candidates) will distribute? Once the candidate spends Rs 10 crore for one election and if the election is cancelled, then right sense will dawn upon them”.
So good to ears but at the same time good-enough to raise questions! Questions, indeed, came to me as I left the RLG.
- Though we had a symbolic achievement, it was nowhere near to a victory sort of outcome given the previous track record of the government giving empty promises and the period since August 28 has proved it. What all Anna fought for has been denied by the Standing Committee.
- Then it had traces of complacency (even if it was driven by innocence of a 74-year old Gandhian). Though Anna said he would not rest but nothing on further strategy was done once the dust of the high-voltage action at the RLG settled.
- Broadening the horizon was again an idea ahead of time and wrongly placed in the list of priorities given the trend of events. When all the energy was to be reoriented in getting a proper Bill legislated, it was wasted in efforts like engaging in war of words with the government on issues like election reforms. Many other sections of the society, too, mooted it a premature step.
Agreed, we need the election reforms. But we have an election commission working fine and we DO have other urgent issues to tackle before we take up this.
Then there were other questions coming to my mind.