Friday, August 3, 2012

Eyes Set On Kejriwal

Team Anna called off its fast until death move seeing that the ruling UPA party was in no mood of passing the Lokapal Bill in the coming parliamentary session. The move of calling off the fast was wise as there was no point of blackmailing the government in the first place itself. The government has been hostile towards the movement from the very beginning and had not shown the political will of doing something serious about the issue of corruption from the very beginning.

It was a treat to see the retired army general V.K. Singh sitting besides Anna ji on the Anshan stage. His short speech was energizing and must have made every Indian proud to see a courageous solider, Anna Hazare, and the humble general coming on one stage to raise their voice against the problems of the nation. The heart gets filled with respect when one sees a diabetic Arvind Kejriwal fasting for nine days and then coming on stage to recite one of Dushyant’s poem: ho chuki hai peer parvat si pighalni chahiye, is himalay se koi ganga nikalni chahiye…

Arvind Kejriwal talked about how they have decided to come to politics and give the Indian public a political alternative. Also, in his brief speech, he gave an inkling of how the party will look like. But amidst all this, one can see that Kejriwal, who is known to be the mind behind the movement, is going wrong in some of his calculations. In the equations of politics, corruption has never been a much talked of issue. Roti, kapada aur makan with a mix of communal, caste and varga politics has been the success mantra for most the political parties so far, not forgetting the money spent to buy votes and MPs. It has been accepted by the Indian masses, more importantly the ones’ who go to vote, as an inevitable evil of the system. A Bill against corruption is one thing and public perception about corruption is another.

There is no doubt that Team Anna, will act as an anti-congress, anti-BJP faction during the 2014 elections and both the parties can expect a shift in their vote banks, though one can’t say who will actually get the benefit of such shifts in general. Congress surely faces a tough task ahead of belittling the Anna movement and undermining each and every flaw in the team to make the whole movement look like a farce when it goes to election campaign. Being a party with great experience in politics, it has actually started questioning the sanctity of the IAC movement, by saying that they already knew that team Anna had political aims and the movement was just a means of fooling the people.

Anna ji says, that an effective Lokpal Bill can bring down corruption by 60%. What is 100% corruption? Is there any way in which the any country can even give an estimate amount of money that is lost due to corruption every year? Arvind Kejriwal counted two three major scams in his speech and reached a number four lack seventy thousand crore, by adding up the estimated loss to the exchequers in those scams. Let us start with the number assuming it to be the sum total of all the money lost to corruption (obviously it is just a poor approximation). There are twenty eight state (let’s leave the union territories for now). Let’s say each state has an equally corrupt political-bureaucratic nexus. Dividing the figure by twenty eight gives us sixteen thousand crore per state. Well, recently CBI made it public that the exCM of Uttar Pradesh has an asset of worth rupees one hundred and eleven crore against her name. Such a small number! By all logics she can be proved to be innocent and a politician with a clean record. She was the CM of for five years of a state which was entitled to rob its people by sixteen thousand crore an year (again reminding its just and understated approximation). Where probably is the rest of the money? Undeclared?

Where ever the money may be, it’s so neatly hidden that even the CBI could not bring it on paper. It is a matter of belief that we should go with the figures that the CAG gives us about 2G scam or alike. The art of hiding the act of corruption is not mastered overnight. Probably we can apply the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest to explain the jungle raj and its workings here. But coming back to the equations of politics and corruption, team Anna seems to be too simplistic in thinking that framing of a strong Lokpal Bill will attain some miraculous feet in bringing down corruption. The politicians, including the fifteen ministers of cabinet who were earlier alleged of being corrupt, will neatly hide their corrupt acts and escape in most of the cases. Well, some will obviously be too thick to escape the nets of a strong bill, but bringing down the corruption by 60% is nothing but a tearfully laughable joke.

Team Anna’s view has made corruption synonymous the ruling UPA party. There is no doubt that the UPA government is left answerless to most of the charges of corruption and mismanagement of public fund in various schemes and policies is widely accepted. But can congress be made to leave the power politics in near future? If yes, then will it mean an end to corruption in India? Well, as of today both the questions will have to settle down with negative answers.

All that a pro-Anna, anti-corruption Indian can hope for today is that the movement that Anna started should not go in the gutters and should become more popular with people in near future so that the chances of new political alternative becoming stronger strengthens with time. Meanwhile, Arvind Kejriwal will have to do some homework in sorting out a meaningful agenda for the upcoming party and will have to rethink his understanding of the corruption that India is facing today.


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