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The Lokpal Bill – Rahul Gandhi and Anna Hazare claiming credit




It was so funny and yet was being covered seriously. Apparently, there was a lovey-dovey exchange of mails between Rahul Gandhi and Anna Hazare over claiming credit for the passage of the Lokpal Bill, although the BJP also tried to take credit for constantly pushing the Congress for getting the bill passed. It was hilarious to watch, especially since most people know the real reason why the Congress suddenly went gung-ho on passing the Lokpal Bill, it being so surprising that no one expected this bill to be taken up at all, forget having been passed in the session.
What was the real reason ? The real reason being the Congress party being totally shocked at the election results in the 4+1 states (right now we will ignore the results in Mizoram, since they are less relevant for this discussion). Before the elections, the Congress was sure that all the measures it had taken for apparently benefiting the public would work (the Land bill, the Food Security Bill, the oncoming Direct transfer and so on), and all this talk about corruption affecting the Congress was just empty talk. The real voters would not care for all this, and even if the Congress won 1-2 elections, they would claim victory. So you had such odd stuff such as Sheila Dixit being ultra-confident and not even campaigning in her constituency, you had Kapil Sibal and Manish Tewari talking the talk and even challenging Modi to a debate, and even more problematic, genuflecting to Rahul and Sonia Gandhi all the while.
And then the results exploded – the BJP destroyed the Congress in 2 of the states with huge victories (including one that was like a test bed of half-baked populism – populist measures unveiled soon before elections to entice voters), and managed to snatch out a victory in Chattisgarh where the Congress could have been expected to win. But it was in Delhi that it got the biggest shock. A party, new, without major leaders or a caste arithmetic, styled on being anti-corruption and anti-regular politics, destroyed the Congress, with most of the 15% loss of the vote share of the Congress heading its way (and in the process, even reducing the vote share of the Congress). If the Congress lost to the BJP, it would be troubling, but losing to the AAP was like an earthquake. This was a party that had the typical Congress voters (poorer people, minorities, etc) leaving the Congress and moving to the AAP, attracted by its desire for honesty and anti-corruption. The AAP even managed to get the BSP vote share reduced by half.
I repeat, the Congress worries about the BJP, but some growth of the AAP in urban and semi-urban clusters to reap the anger with the Congress must be devastating for the Congress, and would have convinced them that the Congress is being seen as corrupt and they need to do something about it. So, here was a golden opportunity to claim that the Congress is out to get the corrupt (in a huge sign of how shallow this was, the passage of the Bill happened on the same day that the Congress Governor in Maharashtra denied permission to the CBI to prosecute Ashok Chavan for the Adarsh building scandal). One way is to paint the Congress as being in the lead for anti-corruption measures, and so it was dusted out and decided to be passed in the session, giving full credit to Rahul Gandhi, and also seeking to get some credit from Anna Hazare. However, it is my contention that had it not been for the startling results by the Aam Aadmi Party, there would have not been a Lokpal Bill even if Anna Hazare sat on numerous other fasts.
Somehow, Anna Hazare seems to be going over the top nowadays, becoming much more arrogant. What would one say to comments that claimed that if Anna had campaigned for Kejriwal, he would have got a majority. And the fact that he seemed to have forgotten the entire organization behind India Against Corruption when he did his victory dance after the Lokpal Bill was passed by Parliament while giving kudos to the Congress and the BJP shows a huge ego that seems to have got badly hurt when the AAP won so many seats in Delhi. It seemed that he would have preferred that they did not win much, thus ensuring that he remained the center of attention. I have always seem him as a Gandhian, but his actions of the past couple of months have taken away all the respect that I had, and wonder whether the advisors that he current has are reducing his credibility to naught.




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