Fight For The Jan Lokpal Bill And The Heat Of The Winter Session

Posted on December 26, 2011 in Politics at Play

By Ashik Gosaliya:

Despite facing trouble on many frontiers, we, as a nation, have accepted the fact that we are living in the era where coalition is the mantra of governance. However, it is entirely unimaginable that All Party Meetings run the government. All party meeting is a rare tool, which allows the government to secure the support of opposition during war or recession like crisis. Here, UPA government calls APMs for almost every issue, for which, decision falls within the purview of executive powers of the government. Indians certainly have lost the count and cause about any APM reaching the positive conclusion, which government can apply instantaneously. In all senses, APMs have become ‘kitty party’ of top ruling and opposition party leaders.

Another APM was called on Wednesday, 14 December, by the government, over the issue that has become aching wisdom tooth of Congress party. On 13 Dec, the party indulged into internal deliberations to decide the future course of action in regard with the new threats posed by Anna Hazare. The stand taken or conclusion reached by the party seems unknown, even to the Congress’ working committee members; leave aside the opposition and the common man. Unfortunately, the Congress party revealed its position on the Lokpal bill with multiple mouths. The scathing harangues against Anna Hazare by top four “foot soldiers” gave enough idea as to where the government is heading. As usual, Pranab Mukherjee came with “last spice of the recipe” and said that the government could not give an assurance about the Lokpal Bill’s decision this winter session.

Collusion or collision:

Congress Party knows that it is running on a ventilator right now; through which, it breathes the oxygen called Samajwadi Party, the only party supporting the clauses of the Government against the Lokpal. Political compulsion does not allow Samajwadi Party to support the ruling alliance against Anna Hazare and his campaign against corruption in government, since the Gandhian has attracted huge support from Uttar Pradesh, which is going to poll early next year.

In addition, Congress high command does not want to rely on Mulayam Singh Yadav, who shares the same “Minority Pie” with Congress in the Hindi heartland. As usual, the government called an  All Party Meeting on Lokpal Bill keeping two intentions in mind: One, to isolate the main opposition party from rest of opposition, and second, to make BJP a partner in the scheme against Anna on contentious issues of the bill. Both failed!

On one hand, UPA is under pressure to fulfill the “dream” of Rahul Gandhi, who, in parliament, proposed to give constitutional status to lokpal. On the other hand, government does not possess enough MPs to see through the bill of its own choice. Anna Hazare has already threatened to go on an indefinite fast again for the third time, if the parliament fails to pass the bill in the ongoing winter session. However, the government has developed cold feet after the APM; it can come up with the bill on the last or second last day of the session and leave no option for the opposition. If the opposition does not support the bill, the UPA can easily throw the blame bonnet on opposition’s head.

UPA in ICU:

Already attracting attentions from many critics on the economy, the government hardly has space to maneuver on an anti-graft bill. Congress is standing at a sunset, praying sunrise to bypass the dark, which seems impractical with recession becoming the catchword and corruption already becoming UPA’s coronation. Certainly, Congress led government wishes to kill the time unto the budget session. During the budget session, it will have an excuse of election in five states including the ‘Semi-Final’ in UP. Since long, Congress has adopted the policy of wait and watch.

Show Must Go On:

Many political commentators have written Anna Hazare off, declaring him steam-less now. Possibly, these commentators do not come in regular contact with the people playing the semi-finals in UP next year. However, changing the venue of fast from Delhi to Mumbai will certainly create an image of Anna Hazare letting the government loose off the hook, as it will give breathing space to the UPA. Despite the fear of low turnout due to the cold in Delhi, he should stick to Delhi, which will make the Manmohan government sweat. Furthermore, in case, Anna’s health deteriorates during the fast, it will add fuel to the people’s fire against government.

‘Ifs’ and ‘Buts’

Politics is game of ‘Ifs’ and ‘Buts’ whenever one foretells the outcome. If Anna attains the same momentum again and if results of election in Uttar Pradesh do not favor the Congress party (seems today), it will make the government’s position untenable. With no numbers in parliament, and economy hunting the Prime Minister. Positioning itself to the power will become difficult for Congress. That will surely make mid-term polls inevitable, which almost every party wants to avoid. I am not fascinated with that idea, however, from a common man’s perspective, asking for a fresh mandate in this crisis like situation may not prove a costly affair. What do you think?

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