I don’t watch News these days by myself. People I follow on Twitter often tweet about what happened that night on Prime Time, and it hasn’t changed one bit since I stopped. Apparently, Sambit Patra continues to excel at his job, which includes jumping from one studio to another, mouthing irrelevant platitudes that would put Ravi Shastri to shame. Priyanka Chaturvedi, on the other hand, continues to prove that she is special, since it takes a special person to often be the most embarrassing spokesperson in a debate featuring Sambit Patra.
Nevertheless, I happened to flip through the news channels two days back, and it seemed to me that the Bihar elections’ results have stemmed the growth of intolerance. Chennai was mentioned in passing, more as a boring afterthought (coverage has increased ever since), while the latest version of the Delhi Lokpal bill is the bone of contention these days.
I gathered the following after reading up about it:
After the contents of the bill were made public by AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar who, true to his name, was pushed out of the Assembly because he wanted to raise certain issues regarding the education sector, while being fully aware that he was in Delhi and the only education most guys in Delhi need to do well for themselves in life is to learn the phrase “Tu jaanta nahin mera baap kaun hai” by heart, there has been a lot of hue and cry.
It looks like there are certain provisions in the bill which make it difficult for it to be accepted by the ruling party at the Centre, and the bill itself is being seen as a diluted version of the Bill that was once the demand of the mass agitations led by Anna Hazare that had swept the entire nation four years back.
The specifics regarding the contentious provisions have been discussed in the blog post titled “Delhi Lokpal Bill – Another excuse for Kejriwal to play his famous victim card”.
All in all, the draft version of the Lokpal bill needs some sun, because it is shady as hell. It has been likened to a movie with Chunky Pandey in the lead: it’s preposterous, whoever has written it clearly hasn’t given it much thought, and it seems it has been designed to fail. It’s kind of weird to think of something that is designed to fail, like a noise-cancelling device customized for the Newshour studio.
Now in order to add weight to the bill which many saw as a mockery of what the Lokpal movement stood for, Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh decided to seek the blessings of the fastest man in India, Anna Hazare. He is ready to fast at the drop of a hat, or more specifically, the Gandhi cap. He has agitated against and will likely agitate against each and every conceivable thing: fight for Lokpal, OROP, Land Acquisition bill, Mulayam singh’s accent, you name it. He probably gets agitated if he doesn’t get to agitate.
It is being said that after Kumar Vishwas threatened to recite “Koi Deewana Kehta hai” unless Anna agreed to back AAP, Anna pleaded with him to stop and agreed to unconditionally support AAP and the bill, with an agitation or two thrown in for visual effects. He has issued a statement to this effect, saying that he will launch a stir if the Central government tried to waylay the bill introduced in the Delhi assembly.
Whenever there is any contentious issue which garners nationwide attention, Anna comes out of nowhere to claim his share. The situation is eerily similar to when a new-born arrives and you don’t get enough pampering. I’m not saying that Anna Hazare is an attention seeker, but every time he calls for an agitation against the central government which is almost always out of the blue, Poonam Pandey is forced to talk about stripping in public to restore balance to the universe. By now it must be clear that I don’t like Anna Hazare’s methods. There little method in his madness, more madness in his methods.
To Anna’s credit, the AAP government led by Kejriwal has agreed to incorporated certain changes suggested by Anna, like keeping the number of selection committee members at seven so that it is not discredited as a tool to further AAPs political interests. But many of the other issues mentioned remain unaddressed, including the one that allows it to probe Central Government functionaries, and the fact that the investigation will be largely dictated by the State government, and this is sure to be struck down by the LG. It is not just designed to fail but also designed to give Anna’s agitation industry a fillip, since Anna is threatening to agitate if the central government interferes.
The Bill is likely to be stalled by the BJP, in which case AAP gets sympathy, and Anna gets to agitate against the central government. It’s a win-win situation for AAP, more like tossing a coin which has heads on both sides, representing the two-faced tactics of the AAP government.
Anna’s relationship with AAP is driven by expediencies, and that complicates matters. He spoke against them when they sided with Lalu, the poster boy of corruption, but now is willing to be an agent of chaos on their behalf, relegating the Bihar elections to the back of the mind as if it were a night of drunken revelry. I’m not an expert on relationships, but it makes more sense to side with Lalu than someone who audaciously talks about measures to stem corruption after supporting Lalu only days back. That way, you know what kind of relationship you are getting into, and chances of heartbreak would be low.
It’s not to say that agitation is something evil. It is an important facet of a democratic set-up, an insurance against rights being usurped. But there should be a sense of time and context in its application. The government can’t be held to ransom all the time under the garb of agitation. Pressure-tactics look good and work well in the loo every morning, not in a democracy.
Let me tell you what is likely to happen if you use his methods in your day to day life to take a stand against grave injustices, like when your mother cooks lauki for dinner. Now going by Anna’s principles and one’s own judgement, this is unconscionable and needs to be protested. But if you decide to do something about it, like skip dinner and leave the house in a fit of rage, it is surely not going to work.
You will most likely end up sitting under the streetlight at the corner because you don’t have any money to buy food, and no one from your family will come to fetch you unlike the Dhara boy since no one loves you anymore as they are done putting up with your shit. In the unlikely event that they indeed do turn up, it would be to drag you by your hair back to your house.
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