An open letter to Anna Hazare

Dear Annaji,

If this letter was written last year, it would have been a letter of appreciation about your movement. Now one year down the line you have made me cynical. Cynical, about you and your movement. Cynical, because your movement has lost its direction. Cynical, because you have started speaking in different voices. A movement that promised so much has failed to cross the finish line.

The first issue is, what is the movement’s main cause? Last year the movement was only about Jan Lokpal. This year the focus is more on the resignation of 15 ministers and to set up a Special Investigation Team to probe them. The issue of lokpal has taken a back seat. This shift has made a huge dent in your movement’s image. The demand of Lokpal was realistic. You took a lot of effort to explain to the masses about the lokpal bill and how important it is in the fight against corruption. This year when you want the ministers to resign, you are not coming up with the exact charges and proof of their corruption. Just like last year you must educate people about the corruption committed by these ministers. If you can do that then the people themselves will come to the streets and demand their resignation.

The next issue is, what is your way forward? Last year you were averse to join politics. After the recent fast you wanted to give people a political alternative. Now you are contemplating to revert to your earlier stance of supporting honest candidates. You were hailed as a modern day Mahatma Gandhi and your movement was compared to the Jayaprakash Narayan’s movement against emergency. Jayaprakash Narayan at the end formed the Janata Party. But those were different circumstances. Is the formation of a political party the best option at this stage? With so much infighting on this issue, first you should try and get a consensus within your team.

If you are going political, then you have a lot to do in the next couple of years. From the very basic things like its name, symbol, to where and how you are going to contest, a lot of time and deliberation is required to work out everything. Money is another important factor. You are going to prove that elections can be won without money and muscle power. But you seem to be a one policy party. “In the next two years if the government enacts the janlokpal we will exit politics straightaway.”, Arvind Kejriwal wrote in his letter to the volunteers after the end of his anshan. Can a political party win elections only to fight corruption? A government in power is not like an anshan. You form the political party, come to power, pass the lokpal bill, and then wrap up and go home. Is that going to be our country’s future?

On the contrary if your plans are to support honest candidates, start carrying an honesty detector for better identification of people. You should be knowing some magic formula to identify such people. It is guaranteed that after 2014 there will be 543 Raja Harishchandra’s in Lok Sabha.

If this movement was really for the lokpal, by the people of this country, then the team members would not be speaking in different voices. The announcement about your political party should have been made after all the consultations were over and when a final decision was reached. The constant flip flops shows cracks in your team and the decisions are taken by a coterie who are trying to convince each other. At the end, the inevitable happened and you disbanded the team. So does that mean you have no confidence in the team and it has no future?

With a dysfunctional parliament and a wave of corruption in the air this was the best time for you to make an impact. Two years have gone since the fight for lokpal started. When you started out is this where you wanted the movement to reach after two years? Last year I really wanted to come to Ram Lila to render my support to you. But today I am quite happy where I am.  I guess somewhere in the middle you just lost the plot.

The scams and adjournments saga – part two

It’s déjà vu all over again. The ghost of scams and adjournments are back haunting the parliament. After the 2 G scam which turned out to be too hot to handle during the winter session, the coal fire is now burning the monsoon session of the parliament. The scams and its controversies are not new and many have resulted in ruckus and adjournments in the parliament. But this washing out a session is a very dangerous trend that undermines the democratic process. No work and no bills passed makes parliament a purportless place.

The BJP, on their hand believes that stalling the parliamentary proceedings completely is the best way to attack the Congress. They BJP is patting their back because according to them whatever steps the government took after 2 G scam was due to the washout of the winter session. “Had we not done that Raja would not have resigned. The prosecutions, the JPC, the 3G auctions, the 2G auctions would not have happened. The telecom system of India is being substantially cleaned up because of that. If by sacrificing one session we can achieve that I think it’s hell of a lot” said Arun Jaitley, the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha in a recent TV interview.

With very little time left for other matters, the function of parliament is being diminished to that of a protest venue. Many important bills are pending which needs to be debated in the house. Not only scams the pending bills also cause huge losses to the exchequer. Several important bills like the National Food Security Bill, the Whistleblower’s Bill, the Janlokpal Bill, the Universities for Research and Innovation Bill are pending among eighty one other bills. The National Food Security Bill gives the right to receive foodgrains at subsidised prices for deserving persons. The Whistleblower’s Bill will provide more protection to persons making disclosures especially against corruption. The Universities for Research and Innovation Bill will help to promote research and innovation in learning and design. These and many other bills need to be passed. India is still a developing country and one cannot afford to sacrifice one session for a scam however big it is.

The UPA government is guilty of scams causing huge losses to exchequer. The NDA has made parliament and parliamentary proceedings irrelevant which in turn is causing losses to exchequer. So among UPA and NDA who actually cares about the common man and the development of the country. Both are two sides of the same coin where only colossal losses are visible.

In both 2G and coal the defense of the government was that both are natural resources and making profit out of it was never the aim. But India is a country where children die due to malnutrition, manual scavenging still exists. India’s economic deficit is around four lakh crores. We need real money to eradicate all this. Where is the money going to come from? When 2G scam came out the government defended their first come first serve policy decision by arguing that India has the least mobile tariff in the world. But what is the people going to do with low mobile tariffs when they don’t have enough money to buy food?

In coal the government’s argument is that the coal is not mined from many blocks till now so the loss is zero. But doesn’t an unutilised mineral resource guilty in retarding the development of a country. India is facing a huge power crisis especially in agriculture and industry. Coal is an essential element in power generation. How is India going to progress when an important ingredient like coal is not mined out for power generation and other purposes? If India’s development is in the hands of such scamsters then we have a very bleak future in terms of economic development.

Looking at the current state of affairs one more bill needs to be introduced where it states that the parliament cannot be closed for a session without working for a minimum number of days. In case of adjournments work must be done in extra time. So in the middle of chants like “Pradhan mantri isteefa do” (Prime Minister step down)  and “Pradhan mantri zindabad” (Hail Prime Minister) the common man has one thing to say “Pradhan mantra thoda kaam karo” (Prime Minister do some work).