There are many reasons for the Anna Hazare drama at Ramlila Maidan, which finally concluded with the government getting the fast called off on a mere verbal assurance to ‘look sympathetically’ at the demands made.
One of the deeper reasons was the UPA’s colossal corruption which caused such public revulsion that the Congress High Command realized the need to allow the public to ventilate its grievances and cool off. The leadership was unnerved by a couple of developments:
- The nationwide surge created by a rustic Yoga Guru against corruption and black money
- The CAG report on 2G Spectrum
- The CAG expose on the Commowealth Games
- The uproar over the Adarsh Housing scam
- Dr Subramanian Swamy’s consistency in legally fighting the UPA government and the Supreme Court’s supervision of CBI investigations as a consequence of it
- Various press briefings by Dr. Swamy on the involvement of Sonia Gandhi’s family and other bigwigs of the Congress party in various scams
- Robert Vadra’s shenanigans getting exposed through the internet
- Frequent foot-in-mouth blabbering of Rahul Gandhi, exposing his stupidity and ignorance
- Manmohan Singh’s change of attitude and assertion of authority
The motives behind the drama
Fearing the convergence of RSS, Baba Ramdev and Subramanian Swamy, Sonia Gandhi thought to script a drama to project herself and her family as morally superior, while achieving a number of objectives:
- Hijack the anti-corruption movement from Baba Ramdev, dilute and suppress it and make him ineffective
- Create problems for the Prime Minister so he vacates the seat for ‘junior’ before his stupidity and incompetence exposes him totally
- Give a communal twist to the anti-corruption movement by pitching Anna Hazare against Baba Ramdev and the RSS
- Divert attention of the people towards “Hindu terror” with the help of minions like Digvijay and Chidambaram. Keep the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill ready to strike at the appropriate time, say, after coronation of Rahul Gandhi as prime minister.
The coterie prepared the screenplay and script with help of selected NGO cronies. The four decade old “Lokpal Bill” was resurrected to serve the purpose!
- Arvind Kejriwal, an NGO person and friend of Sonia’s NAC, goes to Maharashtra and meets the aged (and publicity crazy) Anna Hazare and brings him to Delhi to join Baba Ramdev’s anti-corruption movement. Maoist sympathizer and Congress crony Agnivesh and NGO activist Kiran Bedi jump onto the bandwagon
- Encouraged and motivated by the NGO activists, Anna Hazare sits on a fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar (April 2011). The ‘secular’ media, which completely blacked out Baba Ramdev’s huge public campaigns, leaps into hyper mode, makes a hero out of the ordinary self-styled Gandhian, who was a non-entity outside Maharashtra
- Anna’s cronies scoot Uma Bharati out of the venue - a ‘secular’ act!
- As per script, Anna takes on Manmohan Singh, but exchanges pleasantries with Sonia Gandhi through letters. Sonia cajoles Anna and makes Manmohan government call him to the negotiating table
- Anna withdraws his agitation within four days, AFTER removing the Bharat Mata portrait from the backdrop on his stage. This removes the communal taint he acquired when he accepted a letter of support from the RSS, and establishes his ‘secular’ credentials.
- Anna travels as planned by the anti-nation industry (term coined by Radha Rajan and Krishen Kak), I mean NGOs. Visits Ahmedabad, joins ‘secular’ brigade of Mallika Sarabhai, Medha Patkar, et al and throws mud on Modi and his government, thereby underlining his secular credentials
- Negotiations start between Anna & co and Government to draft the Lokpal Bill. Digvijay continues his tirade against Baba Ramdev and RSS and teases Anna, which complains to Mother Superior … she assures action...
- As the heat of the 2G investigation spreads along with Baba Ramdev’s continuous campaigns against black money, the Empress and heir stealthily leave for Europe, including Switzerland, in the guise of vacation.
Beyond the script
The media’s hype and sudden ‘Mahatmahood’ for Anna didn’t affect Baba Ramdev. Some events, not anticipated by Sonia and her NGO cronies, unfold quickly:
- Baba Ramdev continues his campaign and organizes a massive hunger protest at Ramlila Maidan. As there was no readymade script for this unexpected development, Anna & co extend lip service support. Anna warns Baba not to allow leaders of Hindu organizations to join him
- A changed and assertive Prime Minister sends a team of ministers to negotiate with Baba Ramdev and convince him to withdraw the agitation.
- Agitated by this move, the Empress orders a clampdown on Ramdev and his devotees through the ever pliable Home Minister
- Police use teargas and lathi charge on sleeping devotees and drives them out of Ramlila Maidan in the dark of night. Hundreds are injured; one woman is still critical.
- Police grabs Ramdev and packs him off to Haridwar. The Home minister says Delhi Police action on its own!
- Anna & co express token outrage at the police brutality.
- Negotiations between “Civil Society” (Team Anna) and Government fall apart
- Anna meets Sonia along with NGO activist Kejriwal; Sonia assures action
- Government commits it would introduce the Lokpal Bill in the monsoon session
- Anna meets opposition leaders, but forgets anti-corruption crusader Dr. Swamy
- Anna gives a deadline and says he would fast unto death from 16 August if government fails to introduce a strong Lokpal Bill
- The monsoon session begins. Sonia secretly leaves for USA (so we are told), this time on (alleged) medical grounds
- Government falters, but manages to table Lokpal Bill in Parliament. Anna ups the ante; burns the draft bill tabled in Parliament as a mark of protest
- Digvijay conspicuously remains silent. Congress spokesperson heaps abuse on Anna & co.; Kapil Sibal and Ambika Soni join issue. Rahul enters scene, as scripted, and controls his partymen
- Anna decides to sit on fast as planned. Police refuses Jantar Mantar, but offers JP Park.
- Anna accepts offer, but the Delhi police put conditions. Anna refuses; police cancel the permission
- Prime Minister unfurls national flag at Red fort. Adamant Anna vows to sit on fast at JP Park the next day. He suddenly visits Rajghat and meditates for three hours
- As per script, Home Minister orders detention of Anna & co before he leaves for fast venue. Police takes Anna to an undisclosed destination and later in the evening puts him in Tihar jail. Chidambaram again says Delhi Police acted on its own! It is not clear if the PM was kept in the loop by the Home Minister
- Anna continues fast while backroom parleys go on between Team Anna and government. The NGO cronies of NAC play the job of mediators
- Rahul steps in, as scripted, and asks Government to release Anna. Anna readily accepts a 15-day schedule at Ramlila Maidan
- Government takes care of Anna’s security and health concerns by spending lots of PUBLIC money. ‘Secular’ media plays its role to perfection making a ‘Mahatma’ out of ‘Maharashtra’s Anna’
- Parliamentary Standing Committee which is seized of the matter says no time limit can be specified
- Sonia’s cronies in NAC, Harsh Mander and Aruna Roy, take on Anna crowd. Aruna Roy comes out with another draft Lokpal bill!
Caught in own quagmire
Suddenly, the script went obsolete due to unforeseen circumstances. The ‘secular’ media overplayed its role, resulting in nationwide surge of support which no one, including Sonia, Anna and the anti-national NGO industry anticipated. The drama conceived for the purposes of silencing Baba Ramdev and creating problems for the Prime Minister fell flat.
Baba Ramdev is courageously facing Congress-orchestrated investigations in his financial affairs. He came all the way to Tihar to meet Anna and extend support, to the utter discomfiture of Sonia & co. Apart from ABVP, Baba Ramdev’s Bharat Swabhiman Andolan also mobilized crowds for Anna Hazare. The plot to create problems for the Prime Minister failed and Sonia & Co were caught in their own trap.
Suddenly the ‘actors’ didn’t know how to end the drama! They were totally confused, and as things progressed, Ramlila Maidan became a theatre of the absurd. The government was rigid one day, crawled the next; Anna appealed for peace one day but instigated people the next day; Team Anna had problems within and spoke in different voices; the opposition parties were clueless.
The government, which forcefully removed Baba Ramdev and his followers from the Ramlila Maidan, could not do the same to Anna as he was Sonia’s man! Having come back to square one within a week, the comedy became a tragedy for the Government, Team Anna, the Opposition and Sonia Gandhi. And for the people of India.
When thousands of people took part genuinely in the protests against corruption in major cities and towns, under the assumption that Anna would vanquish the monster called corruption, those “actors” in the capital were ‘playing’ with the sentiments and feelings of the people. The sad fact was that the blind followers of Anna the neo-Gandhi never realized he was overacting, blackmailing the government and making a mockery of democracy.
As the drama seemed going out of control, the producers (Sonia & Co) realized they were in a soup. They could feel a wave across the nation against Congress! Fortunately for them, the BJP didn’t or rather refused to realize it.
At every given opportunity, Anna was rejecting RSS and BJP to project a secular image. But both RSS and BJP were openly supporting him, so it this was a strategy, it was a poorly executed one. The height of tamasha was Nitin Gadkari’s letter of support to Anna! When the party itself had supposedly drafted (or worked on) a better Lokpal bill draft, one could only wonder at Gadkari declaring Anna’s Jan Lokpal bill as the ‘basis’ of discussion in parliament.
Knowing well that its student wing ABVP had played a stellar role in mobilizing the swelling supporters for Anna in many cities and towns, BJP failed to make use of it and create a favourable impression in the minds of the people. Earlier it failed to capitalize on Ramdev’s movement; now it failed to capitalize the Anna mania.
As Team Anna began to worry about his health despite Anna projecting a confident face, the crown prince made a ‘timely’ appearance again, probably on instructions from the empress. Rahul Gandhi came and ‘discussed’ with the PM for one hour and went straight to Parliament to read a text prepared by one of his late father’s loyalists. It was supposed to his I-am-ready-to-be-PM speech, overwhelming the Zero Hour, thanks to Speaker Meira Kumar. Sadly, it was panned by all who heard it – all Ramlila Maidan, and in Parliament during Saturday’s debate, where Rahul demonstrated his non-seriousness and callowness by doing the disappearing act.
Rahul’s speech was an open confrontation with Prime Minister Manmohan who had done a decent job the previous day to arrive at a near solution to the Anna issue with his ex-tempore speech in parliament. Rahul spoilt this by taking on Anna and sermonizing on democracy and secularism etc. He openly contradicted the spirit of Manmohan Singh’s speech, and vanished when he realized that he had impressed none. Even his baba brigade had a hard time trying to defend him.
The anti climax
The national upsurge against corruption in general and UPA in particular, the deteriorating health of Anna, the deft handling of the issue by the political class, forced the producers of the drama to end it at the earliest opportunity. They now placed three conditions, namely, Citizen Charter, Lower Bureaucracy under Lokpal, and Lokayukta in all States, and conveyed their willingness to end Anna’s fast. Parliament, they said, should vote on a Resolution on these three issues.
But they failed to reckon with the tenacity of the political class. MPs rose to the occasion in unison, debated at length in a specially convened parliament session (where Rahul Gandhi disrespectfully and irresponsibly abstained), and came out with a Verbal Resolution conveying the ‘Sense of the House’.
Let us compare what Anna wanted before beginning his fast and what he got at the end:
- Anna wanted passage of Jan Lokpal, a clear time limit, inclusion of PM and Judiciary under the ambit of Lokpal, bypassing of Standing Committee, and finally a written commitment on all these things.
- What he got was a “Sense of the House” and he ended his fast!
So, what is that the Team Anna gained and how can the media trumpet it as a victory?
A few words for the youth
The only silver lining of the five month long drama was that Generation Next is ready to hit the streets for national good. Their anger against the abuse of democracy and concern for the nation is genuine. Their mistake is that they have misplaced their faith on an undeserving team. And they were deceived by a third rate media.
The youth of this country must understand the following facts:
- Mainstream media in India is supported by alien forces and works against national interest
- NGOs are an anti-national industry for they are funded by foreign powers with a hidden agenda of subjugating this nation
- Persons who flirt with NGO activists without condemning the scams and questioning the scamsters around us and showing regard to Sonia Gandhi could never be genuine activists, only fraudulent actors
- Self-styled activists have selfish agendas and work as paid agents for foreign powers
- The Nehru-Gandhi family cares only to remain in power and needs to be removed from the political arena
- Existing laws can combat corruption. What the nation needs is genuine leaders who would implement the laws in letter and spirit
- A Chief Minister in Gujarat has brought down corruption to the lowest level with existing laws, even without a Lokayukta! Chief Ministers in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar are doing the same with existing laws
- A crusader politician like Dr. Subramanian Swamy is making the lives of the corrupt miserable with the existing laws.
- Parliament is supreme in a democracy, even if some parliamentarians are corrupt and criminals. We can always improve our choice of representatives. We should not handover law making powers to the so-called civil society comprising foreign funded NGOs. That would be a disaster.
- Finally, it is extremely sad that a precious young life was lost in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, due to this callous drama by anti-national forces for their selfish agenda. The national media deliberately concealed this sad development and the arrogant Team Anna didn’t bother to even condole the death of young Arundas, who thought he was following a genuine leader and sacrificed his life. Who is going to compensate this terrible loss? Sonia, or the NGO activists, or Anna? What is going to be the future of his family and poor parents?
Had Parliament failed in dealing with this issue, Manmohan Singh would have been forced to resign and Rahul Gandhi would have become the PM.
In such a scenario, with pliant people at all important constitutional posts, one shudders to think what would have happened to governance in the country.
Moreover, had Government yielded to the so-called Jan Lokpal, it would have set a bad precedent. It would have led to a flurry of emotional blackmailing by different groups, resulting in chaos. It is gratifying that Parliament rose unanimously to the occasion and asserted its supremacy.
Anna & co got what they deserved – empty platitudes.
A good lesson to Sonia & co!
The author is a senior journalist