Tag Archives: manmohan singh

Democracy derailed as Anna yet to decide on Break fast

At last the Indian government agreed to table Janlokpal bill draft in the parliament on Friday, along with three other versions.

A huge moral victory for Team Anna, its scores of followers across the globe who have captured the media eye like nothing else. It looks all set that Anna will break his fast on Parliament menu, with prime minister and company acting as prudent waiters ensuring that the main course of JanLokpal is served well along with three similar sounding dishes oops bills.

The followers of this 74-year-old Gandhian rejoice in jubilation as the government of the day again lets the people down. By allowing these crusaders against corruption dictate the demands on an issue affecting 1.2 billion people and not the few million taking on the street or supporting via social media, it surely has let many down.

The overwhelming scenes unfolding on television screens proclaimed by some as massive victory by Anna, fail to state that this has yet been another failure on part of the government. Do those in the seat of power realise what precedent they are setting up with this; they show those riding on popular sentiment and media coverage a way by which they can sabotage the democratic set up and foster their force over the highest governing body — the parliament.

Imagine a scenario wherein those regular seekers of separate state, or reservation robin hoods, dosts of dams, friends of farmers and the likes manage to create similar scenes and citing precedence of Lokpal fiasco up the ante for their demands. Will the government of the day succumb? Is it right move to allow few men and women hold hostage everyone else who doesn’t sing in chorus their rants of anti corruption?

Is it justified that the parliament pays the price for the colossal disaster by the government of putting Hazare behind bars?

The move not only exposes the ineffective governance it shows that their isn’t any leader worth ones salt in the system who can take these people heads on. What the current crisis also show that the Team Anna though termed ‘Gandhian’ is acting as Dubya’s men, ‘my way or the highway’ has been their mantra.

This attitude also speaks a lot about their leadership which backed by apt management has given the government a run for its money or rather black money. Team Anna is behaving too high headed, despite not being representative of the entire population they are acting as guardians of the society.

With the PM reaching out to them and taking two steps forward they are still glued to their position. They should realise that this bill has been in the waiting for four decades, more than the average age of majority of their supporters. At least the current government is allowing them to participate and the bill can only be made better if debated and discussed with open minds.

After witnessing the mayhem, all one can say is may common sense prevail.

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Five points that India can learn from Hackgate

Hackgate has been one of the biggest controversies in Britain. The alleged illegal and unethical practices of the mightiest media conglomerate led to the end of a 168 year old weekly.

It saw the media mogul Rupert Murdoch being summoned by the Commons, government officers resigned so did it saw top newspapers executives and so far 10 people have been arrested. Not to mention that the Prime Minister David Cameron has been forced to cut short his Africa tour in order to attend Prime Ministers questions.

Looking at the way the system, government and media machinery functions here for almost a year it makes me feel that the we should have had a ‘Raj’ hangover of different kind.

Not denying the fact that it took eight long years and two inquires which led to nothing substantial, this one is turning out to be mother of all investigations so far. As an Indian national watching the developments from ringside I figure out five points that wouldn’t harm if we have a ‘Raj’ hangover.

Transparency

The way events are unfolding it’s all playing to the gallery, with television cameras bringing the parliamentary proceedings and that of the committee into people’s living room. Contrary to our parliamentary committee proceedings about which we the people hear via sources, reports and committee findings. The line of Q&A’s is never known. Those involved chicken out on the mention of being transparent. (the most recent being Lokapal bill meetings and the hearings in Radia tapes).

Accountability:

There is a great notion of being accountable to the people. Leaders and officials when in dock own up to their doings and wrong doings. Former Prime minister Tony Blair was summoned second time early in January before the Iraq enquiry and the proceedings were televised, neither Labour party nor Blair loyalist made a hue and cry like their counterparts in our country. Today Cameron said, if proven that Andy Culson was involved in Hackgate he would issue an apology to the house and said in hindsight the appointment was error of judgement. While our leaders hardly own up to their error of judgements leave aside appearing before a committee and that too in public view. Look at the drama over Radia tapes and formation of Joint Parliamentary committee; it stopped the house from functioning.

Etiquette

It is amazing for an Indian to see a parliament that functions, goes about fulfilling its duties and moreover the MP’s abiding by the word of the speaker. Whatever be the debate questions are raised, answered and speaker is above everyone else in the house. Full house or less attendance the house functions without failing and it has the power to call high and mighty for being questioned. Murdochs could not defy when summoned.

Speed

As mentioned it took long for Hackgate to reach where it has, but this time around the speed of investigations and committee hearings have been done at a lightning speed. That apart in the MPs expenses scandal that was brought to light in May 2009, so far six MP’s have been pleaded guilty and sentenced. Can we ever imagine this to happen in India, our Kalmadi’s still get a VIP treatment even while waiting for the cab in the prison? Common wealth game scam, Adarsh Scam, Cash for votes, Radia Tapes the list goes on without a single outcome.

Democratic

Most importantly the government doesn’t hide behind the coalition dharma disguise. Members in the coalition can voice different opinions, but the government takes appropriate action. In the Hackgate David Cameron is being questioned by both his MP’s and by those of Liberal Democrats and responding in all fairness. We can’t even dream of PM, or UPA chairperson ever being questioned, if someone does they are shown the door.

Is anyone listening?

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