Questions kept their frequency sustained. After Anna left, it was turn of Arvind Kejriwal. He delivered a long speech that thanked everyone. Every name was called. The Parliament and the Parliamentarians, who were the most hated lot just a day ago, were praised. It seemed phony then given the intense bickering of weeks. Kejriwal had said, "We are thankful to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he showed remarkable leadership yesterday in the parliament. We are also thankful to all the parliamentarians for listening to the voice of the common man." This generous thanksgiving looks even phonier now.
Wasn’t there a need to maintain a strategic calm? Wasn’t it about playing even tougher then? After all, it was after the experience of the Fast at Jantar Mantar when the government had very conveniently backtracked on the promises it made. The tempo had to be maintained.
That did not happen. Rhetoric, rhetoric and rhetoric – words but no substance!
And the result – epitome of cacophony!
Standing Committee of the Parliament today adopted the Lokpal Bill draft and the same will be tabled in the Parliament on December 9 as various media reports say. Reports further add that the House will take up the Bill on December 19 and the government will have the Bill passed in this winter session only.
Today, Anna Hazare released a list of 34 amendments that he wants in the Lokpal Bill.
Today, Arvind Kejriwal said the Standing Committee has accepted just one of the fourteen key demands of Team Anna on the Lokpal.
And who’s responsible for this?
The goodwill eroded - This Team Anna has much of the blame to share. Consistent flurry of controversies since August 28, especially with members like Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Bhushan duo corroded much of the goodwill.
Dislocated functionality - Good names like Rajinder Singh, PV Rajagopal left. Others aired their displeasure about functioning of the ‘core committee’. ‘India Against Corruption’ happened to be a 21-member effort but we have been listening to and hearing none but these four-five faces. No replacements came. No fresh faced joined the movement. It has been an area of utter failure that Team Anna created itself.
Empty words – sometimes impregnated with political overtures like expanding the ‘core committee’ with multilayered structure giving representation to all sections of society like Dalits, Muslims - such promises were made multiple times in these three months but nothing happened except confrontation and war of words with the government and its representatives as well as the intensifying internal differences of Team Anna.
Ethically wrong – Campaigning in Hisar is a historical mistake for this anti-corruption movement. When the movement was all about anti-corruption, taking partisan steps even remotely linked to helping someone with questioned credentials win should not have been practiced. Kiran Bedi’s defence of her inflated bills controversy is just absurd. In yet another disappointing move, Anna, more or less, justified his ‘Pawar’s just one-slap’ statement when he blogged about it. Here a Gandhian says that he, apart from Gandhi, believes in Chhatrapati Shivaji, too. So slapping Pawar, according to him, was akin to following values propagated by Shivaji. Smelt of Thackerays! Flatly, just not acceptable!
Unfocused - The much-hyped but left into the oblivion Uttar Pradesh tour is a classical example of resource spoilage. Not much is heard when it comes to the summative evaluation of the tour. Days were wasted. Public money was wasted (the tour was funded by money donated by likes of ‘you and me’ during the anti-corruption agitation in Delhi). The anti-corruption movement has not been restructured or reoriented for the next step to add more people with it. Instead, big ticket empty announcements like electoral reforms, education reforms, group expansion, anti-government campaigning in the upcoming elections have been made again and again.
How this all might have affected the on-going anti-corruption movement?