In last few years, several incidences of corruption involving very large amount of tax payers money have come to notice. In many cases, suspects were ruling party ministers and officials related to the ministry. As if that was not enough, evidence is emerging that people close to important political personalities of ruling party as well as opposition party/ies have also used their proximity to power centre for their personal benefit.
Opposition parties raised hue and cry about corruption associated with ruling party ministers. Several sessions of parliament were wiped out, because opposition demanded accountability and action from the party governing the country. Along with opposition, a group of anticorruption activists were also protesting against rampaging corruption that has made common Indian’s life a living hell. This group of activists were lead by Anna Hazare and his core team included Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Santosh Hegde, Kiran Bedi among others. Chief demand of the group was creation of an institution of Lokpal (ombudsman). The office of lokpal will have the authority to register and investigate cases of corruption against high officers and elected members of government. Under public pressure, government initiated discussion with activists. After several rounds of discussion, as per agreement a draft lokpal bill was prepared and presented to parliament. However, it was not passed due to technical reasons.
When lokpal bill was not passed despite repeated pleas, pressure and entreaties, a part of anticorruption group decided to contest election by forming a political party. Leader of this faction was Arvind Kejriwal. He was supported by Prashant Bhushan among others. The tactics adopted by this group was to bring names of ministers involved in corruption out in public. Aniticipation was people will recognise corrupt ministers and not elect them. Idea also was to demonstrate a collusive relationship between different political parties cutting across party lines for personal gain. As a result of this effort, the first disclosure made was of a business relationship between Robert Vadra and DLF. Subsequently, the team also accused Nitin Gadkari also of using cross political manipulation for personal gain.
Political class have reacted predictably by calling Arvind Kejriwal and his group as publicity seeker, upstart, usurper etc. Motive has also been attributed to actions of Arvind Kejriwal and his group. Both ruling party and principal opposition party have dubbed Arvind Kejriwal’s group as B team of their opponent. Most bizarre accusation, however, has come from spokesman of Congress party. It has been suggested that there exists an unwritten code of silence, Omerta, among political parties not to target family members of each other. Under such a code of silence, it is mandatory to keep quiet about Vadra – DLF deal with the help of Haryana government. It is also alright to take away farmers land at throwaway price citing public interest – building dam and canal, but build something else or nothing.
This collective complicity between big business, political parties and families and friends of politicians is what Kejriwal and company are fighting against. May be their method is different, but goal is similar. One may disagree with Mr . Kejriwal’s approach of naming and shaming politicians, their family, friends and associates. Obvious drawback can be these crooks have thick skin and may not be put into shame that easily. In the process, people will get inured to repeated revealation and shock value may recede. The politicians may resort to violence in the absence of media glare in remote areas of their constituency. Politicians may close rank, gang up against activists and defend each other. Moreover, politicians may take the same approach as that of Kejriwal and make allegation against activists.
Our political class, mainly the congress party, because they have governed India for bulk of years, is singularly responsible for scratch my back politics. When these people could have created open and transparent rules, clear unambiguous policies, could have created administration, law and order machinery that is independent and upright, they worked towards making these institutions subservient to government. Other parties have taken cue from Congress. What is sauce for gander, is also sauce for goose. In today’s India, honesty and integrity are considered a joke. Doing ones duty following rule of law is considered wimpish. Most corrupt always throws law book at the honest for violation of procedural detail. Let honesty, humanity, etc go to hell. On top of that Mr. Digvijay Singh talks about unwritten code of not touching nonpolitician relatives of politicians. Who gave such right to politicians to arrive at their Omerta code of conduct? I thought such a code exists among mafia groups. So are our political leaders actually part of self centric mafia groups, or they are here to serve us and the country? At the end of the day, it is our money, it is country’s resource these politicians and their non politician relatives are playing with. The desire that no one should protest must be a joke!
A stellar achievement of Arvind Kejriwal and his team is that they have shown Indians that what politicians say are not necessarily correct. It is alright to question the authority.