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Anna & anarchy – who is profiting from it all?

August 17, 2011

The recent Anna-Government spat is symbolic of all that is wrong with our nation. All lines are blurred – between logic and whim, legal and illegal, democracy and autocracy. Congress spokespersons (M/s Singh & Tewari) spew venom at Team Anna on one hand and on the other, there is a stoic silence, a safe distance from these remarks by other party ‘officials’. In the morning, the government throws Anna into jail and then he refuses to be released in the evening! The result – dailies are filled with editorials admonishing the government on its high-handedness, citing this episode as evidence of a ‘second emergency’. But who benefits from these actions?

The government has successfully managed to obfuscate the debate from inflation, national security and corruption to civil liberties. Last time around [both with Anna and Ramdev], the causes were clear – Lokpal & Black-money in foreign shores. Today, ironically the nation’s protests are targeted against the unknown evil in front of Amar Jawan Jyoti & India Gate. Who are the protests against – The Government for its corruption or high-handedness, or against Anna’s arrest or is it against the loose-cannon Congress spokespersons whose eloquence is contrived and intellect conjured or is it against all those who are corrupt or is it against everyone ‘bad’?

The events of the recent past – beginning from accusing Anna of corruption and culminating in his arrest seems a carefully choreographed by the Congress. It is hard to believe that the Government / Congress’ key functionaries can make such elementary errors and lionise the enemy (Team Anna). It is too good to be true! How can a party whose leader hails from the hallowed land of Machiavelli commit such patent follies in Chanakya country? [You read it right – I am trusting the intelligence of a political party rather than questioning their arrogance.]

To put into context the events of recent past, the anger on the streets was palpable – rising inflation (especially food) has burdened the poor, a shaky economy spooked Dalal Street, and a middle-class who have borne the brunt of both. The elephants in the room –  all pervasive corruption corroding the very foundation of our society and  terror strikes which have added cruel uncertainty to civilian life – bringing parity between the barracks and Bombay. Thus leaving us longing for our own Tahrir square.

Like this was not enough, the youth at the forefront of Anna’s agitation is restless and disgruntled. This generation has not been part of those epochal moments of history – be it independence or the emergency. There is a restiveness to be part of history and a search for a sense of euphoric  change. A chapter in history titled ‘The Oriental Autumn after The Arab Spring’ – how alluring; almost poetic. Makes all the effort worth it – of going to JP, Freedom and many other such parks to get under the flash-bulbs.  Absolute pot-boiler material.

This simmering discontent may ultimately manifest itself in change – politically, as both Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have shown decisively. With the general elections some distance away, the Congress is perhaps looking to channel the edgy energy of the voters into something intangible – where the people are left with a feeling of achievement and liberation with Congress’ plans remaining unaltered. There couldn’t have been a better time for the Congress to dissipate the collective vigour of the masses and ensure that the long-term impact on the prospects of the party remains unaltered. An ‘ailing’ Sonia Gandhi is abroad for treatment and Rahul Gandhi is tending to his mother, as a ‘dutiful son’ should. Citizens of India are given to believe that the Gandhi family is blissfully unaware of the happenings at home. When they return Anna is a spent force and Lokpal would have been referred to the Lok Sabha Speaker’s sub-committee on Food Processing by the Rajya Sabha speaker’s committee on Surface Transport. Sonia Gandhi can then write to Team Anna that the Congress will dedicate its every breath to fighting corruption, but ‘law has to take its own course’ [Read: The Lokpal bill will then be forwarded to the Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment before discussions with the Empowered Group of Ministers on Infrastructure Reform, but only after formulating  a joint-parliamentary-committee (with representation from Regional, National, Socialist, Communist, Nationalist, Forward Class, Backward Class, Most backward class and Dalit parties) to review their recommendations ]

So as Anna steals the Opposition’s thunder and the Government continues to blunder, only the Congress at its benevolent best can offer an alternative. The voice of the youth, the face of tomorrow – Rahul Gandhi – for Prime Minister. Fasts done, candles burnt-out,  it is now back to business as usual with a Gandhi at the helm of affairs. While this may be the most gregariously sinister of designs, the Lokpal fiasco certainly leaves me with as much anger as a feeling of paranoia and apprehension about the unknown – it is just too fishy. To sum it up:

Daal mein zaroor kuch kala hain, pata nahin Lokpal mein bhi kya ghotala hain

PS: The best outcome that I am hoping for is the absence of Singh & Tewari from the TV screens (even if it is temporary).

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