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Lokpal and the RSS-BJP attitude
From Bengal Famine during the British Raj to the partition of the nation in 1947, Mother India has seen the worst of days. Most of the new generation flamboyant youth might not even be aware of PL-480 aid and let us not talk about those odd times.

Seven decades have passed since the country has been independent. The nation has made progress in several spheres but one thing that has been increasing consistently, plaguing every domain of society, the government, the politics, and in fact, the system of the entire nation, is CORRUPTION. This parasite has fed on the lives of ordinary poor men like a perpetual albatross around its neck which you can see and feel as well. Although it has been present since time immemorial, but during the regime of the UPA-II it witnessed its peak performance as innumerable scams and scandals involving misappropriation of the country's assets erupted with debilitating consequences. The old saying – behind every big fortune there is a crime, we can easily conclude that no scam in a country occurs without a green signal from the politicians in the high places. All major cases of corruption unraveled have always had a deep political nexus.

I would have loved to say that it were the best of times for few who were minting money through unfair means; it was the worst of time for many Indians especially the poor men.

In those bleak times, Anna Hazare, an Indian social activist from Maharashtra, who had earlier led the movements to 'promote rural development' and 'investigate and punish corruption in public life', started a hunger strike on 5 April 2011 to exert pressure on the Indian government to enact a stringent anti-corruption law. The Lokpal Bill, 2011 as envisaged in the 'Jan Lokpal Bill', for the institution of an OMBUDSMAN with the power to deal with corruption in public places. His fast led to nationwide protests in support and it ended on 9 April 2011, a day after the government accepted Hazare's demands. The government issued a gazette notification on the formation of a joint committee, consisting of government and civil society representatives.

Here I can't help but to add twin quotes of Thomas Hardy:

"Happiness is but the occasional episode in the general drama of pain." It is a cap or caption that fits every head. However, the Anna Movement brought some hope and again in Hardy's words:

Song of Hope

"O sweet tomorrow

After to-day

There will away

This sense of sorrow

Then let us borrow

Hope, for a gleaming

Soon will be streaming

Dimmed by no gray

No gray." …..End of the quote.

The Jan Lokpal Bill was drafted jointly by N Santosh Hegde, a former justice of the Supreme Court; Arvind Kejriwal, a social activist and the present chief of the AAP; and Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer of the Supreme Court.

According to Anna Hazare, "The Jan Lokpal Bill is an act to create effective anti-corruption and grievance redressal systems at the Centre so that an effective deterrent is created for corruption that also provides effective protection to whistleblowers."

Despite his illustrious achievements, Anna has had an old connection with RSS that was scaring for many and that contention proved true as in time it was unfolded. Anna was an instrument for the RSS to create an atmosphere of distrust. It had the ulterior motives to dislodge the Congress party from the Centre, which eventually paved the way for the implementation of 'Hindutva agenda of the RSS.' And it isn't a piece of fiction.

According to the RSS chief, Shri Mohan Rao Bhagwat – RSS never actively supported the Jan Lokpal movement, it was the RSS that urged Anna Hazare to go on an anti-corruption crusade. The RSS leader also claims that they had spoken to Baba Ramdev as well on starting an anti-corruption movement. In an interaction with journalists in Kolkata, Bhagwat claimed that Hazare's association with the RSS goes back a long way, and that Hazare used to visit and train RSS cadres in Maharashtra.

That is the other side of the Gandhian anti-graft activist Anna Hazare's story.

However, just like most of the countrymen, this scribe also believed in the pious intentions of Anna. Inside each of us, there is the seed of both good and evil. It's a constant struggle as to which one will win. One cannot exist without the other. And Anna Hazare was no exception. The Congress leaders that time had alleged that the anti-corruption agitation by Hazare and Baba Ramdev was part of an overall plan of RSS-BJP to divert attention from the Sangh's "terror links" and they also warned spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar that he too could be used by them. While Ramdev and Hazare were plan A and B of the Sangh-BJP, Sri Sri Ravishankar was Plan C and hence Sri Sri was asked by the Congress to be "wary" of the two organisations.

In those days, the then Opposition party BJP had fully supported the Jan Lokpal Bill. It had challenged the government to pass the Bill in the ongoing winter session of the Parliament. As per the statements on behalf of the BJP, "The Jan Lokpal Bill was sent to a Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha. The Committee, which was headed by a Congress member, Satyavrat Chaturvedi held several sittings and all political parties were privy to it. There were 13 unanimous recommendations adopted by the Committee". As of 12th December, 2013, BJP leader Arun Jaitley commented, "Government should bring the Bill with these amendments and BJP will support it along with the UPA. The Rajya Sabha can pass it tomorrow, and it can be passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday."

All the hell let loose regarding the Jan Lokpal issue as it intensified to denigrate the Congress regime. The hunger strike of Anna Hazare gave birth to a new phenomenon – the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi Assembly elections as a significant political force.

That time, the BJP had also pointed out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been deliberately delaying the Bill, when the Select Committee had furnished the completed report on the Bill on December 23rd, 2012.

Anna Hazare had also raised the important question, "If the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh can pledge to get the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill passed in Parliament, why can't he do the same for the much delayed anti-graft law?"

The most articulate in those days and rarely heard these days, our dynamic lady and the Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj had spoken eloquently about "an old man who keeps fasting to fight corruption, and appeals to our collective conscience."

Much water has flowed under the bridge of Ganges since then. Now, the boot is on the other foot.

Shri Narendra Modi ji is in power. The RSS is the guiding spirit and nation is impatiently waiting for the Most Urgent Bill in 2013 – the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. It has not been implemented. The poor Indian is yet to have his or her first Lokpal. The prime minister with 56-inch chest who had won a massive mandate to push growth and fight corruption is showing no sign for that 'Shubh Ghari' and his government's defence is: A search committee could not be formed as there was no leader of opposition (LoP) in Lok Sabha.

After it lost a string of state polls, Congress had pushed the Bill before the 2014 national elections to fight the taint of scams, but it slumped to its worst performance, not winning even 55 seats to have an LoP.

To obfuscate the matter further and to stave off the fulfillment of the Great Promise, the Modi government instead of urgently sorting out the limited issue of LoP, had introduced a 10-page amendment in December 2014. The matter had moved to a Parliamentary panel. The law required public servants to declare not only their assets and liabilities but also for their spouse. The government is in favour of making only immovable assets of officials public. While in opposition, BJP wanted a strong and independent Lokpal.

The clear comment is that BJP is trying to both diluting the law and delaying its enforcement. The 'Mann Ki Baat' is that NaMo believes he is doing fine without a Lokpal. "Corruption had eaten away our country like termites. So if I have stopped so much corruption, there will of course be many who will curse me. Only those who looted the nation are not enthused by this government." The backdrop is interesting and excruciating. The posts of chief information commissioner and central vigilance commissioner remained vacant under Modi's watch. The reality is that the present government is no different and almost a replica of Congress, it is also afraid of transparency and action against the corrupt.

It is interesting to observe that Narendra Modi's remarks came days after the Supreme Court questioned why his government had not appointed anyone as Lokpal. "What is holding you back? You cannot sit over it," the court asked the government, while seeking to know by July 19 the steps taken for the appointment. The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause that alleged that the government and other parties were dragging feet. The top court had in 2002 asked the government to appoint a Lokpal to "end the headache of a scam every day."

And the Saint of Ralegan Siddhi who had began that saturnalia of Lokpal Joke is relaxing as anyone who rests on his oars. The mission is accomplished. RSS is now ruling the roost. Time to time he issues some damp squibs against this and that power but he is nowhere in the picture. Former army chief General VK Singh and former Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi, Shazia Elmi and many more are now enjoying the party – the game of musical chairs. Aam Aadmi Party founder Arvind Kejriwal is still CM of Delhi. Anna's pack of hounds is playing the important role of guarding the power citadels. Naive are those who believe that Kisan Baburao Hazare, whose lack of education and his understanding of politics let him down. No Sir. He had done his job well. He was Anti Congress Crusader and Congress has kissed the dust – Anna is enjoying his achievement.

Let me finish this article with the couplets of Saqib Lucknawi:

"BaghbaaN nay aag di jab Aashiyanay ko meray

Jin pe Takiya tha wohi Pattay Hawa denay lagay."

(When the gardener himself set my rosary on fire, the leaves meant to buttress my being began to fly off.)

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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