Friday, August 05, 2011

Lokpal - Observations

This post is written by my friend and guest blogger Karthikeyan Chandran. He blogs at Glocal View 
Today the government tabled it's version of the Lokpal bill and Team Anna was burning the same outside. I have only a few observations to make from what I have seen till now.
Team Anna is trying to sell it's version as a solution to everything corrupt under the sun (atleast within India), which is just not going to work. In their zeal to root out corruption they have tried to bring every damn department within the purview of Lokpal. I don't see how they will implement this even they get a chance to pass their version. Also, you just cannot legislate corruption away. It needs to be organic. Instead of the my way or highway approach which has given the Congress Govt to point out Team Anna's intransigence as an excuse to come out with it's own more or less a watered down version of Lokpal, Team Anna must have worked as the watchdog within the joint committee holding the govt to task and coming out with one stronger version of Lokpal.

While Team Anna might have it's heart at the right place, it's method of tantrum throwing and calling into question the integrity everything that relates to our Polity and constitutional process doesn't go well with people who still have faith within the democratic process. If i should not trust the politicians who are atleast held accountable every 5 years, how am i supposed to trust arbitrarily chosen "Few Good Men" who make up the lokpal. I surely don't (maybe i am too cynical). Let us think about this for a minute. Would anyone have thought the democratic setup we came up with after independence would devolve into such a corrupt system? The idealists and statesmen gave way to corrupt politicians. So, how am i supposed to believe that we need to have an ombudsman who is all powerful and unaccountable and not elected will stick to it's legislated mandate? Maybe in the first 5-10 years. How about after that?

I feel, notwithstanding another fasting threat (on Aug 16), Team Anna has lost a great opportunity to have played a very constructive role in this whole process. The popular anger and support was behind them and they could have kept the Govt's feet to fire. By walking out and coming with their own version and trying to put a deadline by which the Govt must pass their version and threatening with a fast if the govt fails to do so they have painted themselves into a corner.

I also have to say something about the way Team Anna comes off on TV, especially Arvind Kejiriwal and Kiran Bedi. Both of them have their heart in the right place, God bless them, but they come off very off handed in any interview or discussion. When some relevant questions are asked of them they keep changing the goal posts or make simplistic arguments which never answer the asked question. I also hate it when Arvind brings up the movie Gandhi and the scene where Gandhiji burns the passes to their act of burning the Lokpal draft. I am sorry, whatever the drawbacks of our current political system and however corrupt the system is, it is not the same as a subjugating alien power and Team Anna ain't made of Mahatma Gandhis (including highly respected Anna Hazare). I only wish he stops using that as an analogy.

I only hope that they use the immense popular outrage that is behind them in the coming days to good use rather than overreaching and in the end wasting away the whole thing.
Originally published
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

In this post, the writer has shed ample of his adrenaline against the
team Anna I notice it second time but without providing an alternative view that one can work on. Simply condemning this group is
giving a legitimacy to the very basic evil we want to eradicate.

Going in detail into it may be out of place in this comment but I must express my disapproval of our Grand Patriarch "Gandhiji" whom we try to invoke as a panacea everywhere to bypass the malaise and controversy. I respectfully feel that Gandhiji has been used and abused more often.

The deadline was fixed initially and the Kapil Sibal gangs have tried their best first to use their
dirty trick of involving Bhushans and all including Annaji into some controversy. When that did not work, now they are trying to scuttle it by one excuse or the other.

I do agree that PM, all the CVC, CIA, judges, and etc should be broght under purview of Lokpal. We have seen them all including the Governors and Presidents. Present President Ms Patil is no exception. She has tainted hands.

Therefore in an attempt to distil something, one may have to burn hands and I feel that we better do it.

Take the example, Ms Sonia Gandhi is away to US for her surgery and the country knew it only after her surgery was done. I felt it is not acceptable if you consider yourself a Sovereign Nation and its

Why is then you and I are entrusted to such untrust worthy team of Doctors in the Country? I felt bad when PM was operated by the team of doctors other than those in AIIMS, Delhi. It is shame that our politicians are still not matured enough. Dr Venugopal is a most skilled heart surgeon of international repute.

Sorry Kartikeyan to not agree with you totally.

God bless

Dr. O. P. Sudrania

August 06, 2011 11:10 AM  
Blogger Karthikeyan said...

Thanks Dr.O.P.Sudrania for your comment.

First up, it was NOT with some adrenaline rush that i wrote this up, nor do i have any malice towards Team Anna. I follow the lokpal issue with quite some interest. The whole essay was about my frustration with Team Anna, which according to me is currently squandering a great opportunity to get a strong and workable piece of legislation instead of trying to correct everything under the sun all at one time. Instead of arguing to include every government employee, they could have started with bigwigs, MPs, bureaucrats and the likes. (I am with the govt regarding the PM issue.) That would have a very good start. At the sametime they should have pushed the CBI to be independent, given more teeth to CVC etc., By trying to do everything at the sametime, they are only hurting their own agenda (and ours). That is the whole point. Also, no one in Team Anna speaks how it would implement this gigantic new bureaucracy that is going to be look over everything and everyone in India? They should have gone for a staggered approach. Yes, it could mean the movement might lose it's steam. But, i don't want corruption replaced by tyranny. Yes, given my experience as an Indian, i don't want to place a chosen fews' honesty as a basis for supporting an institution. The institution must have enough checks and balances so even the corrupt ones don't take the country hostage.

I have a lot of respect for Anna Hazare. But i don't think anyone can start dictating that their version of a law must be passed within a particular date. That is not how a parliamentary democracy works. Just because they announced a date doesn't mean anything.

Sonia's and Manmohan's surgeries are completely irrelevant to this issue.

P.S. Regarding Gandhiji's name being misused, what makes it even more tragic that a member of Team Anna (a Gandhian) does the same.

August 07, 2011 9:12 PM  

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