Posted Sun, 09/02/2012 - 20:09 by admin
by RAVI SHANKAR
During the last one and a half years the country witnessed two major agitations against the failures of our Britishers-designed administrative system. Unfortunately, the first, much hyped agitation by Anna Hazare, died with the call of forming a political outfit, while the other, launched by Baba Ramdev, culminated with seeking support of non-Congress parties. The country has deeply been realising the failures of the system for a long time. Several big movements were also launched against it, but, unfortunately they all lost direction even without reaching any logical end. Their real objectives also remained confusing even till the end. A closer look at the JP movement of 1977 makes it clear. The JP movement basically began against some people sitting in the power then. But it turned into a big movement when Jaiprakash Narayan gave the call of Sampoorn Kranti (Total Revolution). The problem practically witnessed at the later stage was that the people whom JP relied upon during the movement were themselves unaware of the real issues and seriousness of the movement. They took it just a problem connected with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her party, the Congress. They believed if both are displaced from the power, the problem would automatically be resolved. But that was a not the fact. Contrary to it, Jaiprakash Narayan was well aware of the roots of the malady, but unfortunately he was afflicted with the ‘Bhishma Mentality’—he advocated reforms in the system, but he was not ready to be part of the reform process, as was done by Bhishma Pitamaha during the Mahabharata. Therefore, JP had only one alternative—develop some people who can effectively reform the system. Though, some people were developed in the process, their real agenda and ambitions aimed at somewhere else. We have witnessed many movements in the history, which surfaced due to the failure of the system, but neither could they effectively raise questions over the system, nor did they present any solid alternative. Something same seems to be happening again. The outcome of the agitation by Anna Hazare is before all of us and there has been almost no doubt about the outcome of the agitation of Baba Ramdev too. Undoubtedly, compare to the previous movements, the initial trends of both these movements were encouraging. This is the reason a large chunk of the Indian population rallied around Anna and Ramdev and still has soft corner for them. In the beginning, it was witnessed that both the agitations are not against any individual or particular political party. Both equally targeted the faults of the administrative system. That is why majority of the people felt that both the movements deeply understand the failure of the system and they can produce a concrete alternative. The agitation by Anna talked about weeding out corruption and presented Janlokpal Bill as a remedy. The movement by Baba Ramdev too did talk about corruption it only focused on bringing back the black money stashed away in foreign banks. Both the movements are now at the stage where there is no doubt that they, like the previous movements, are directionless and have failed to diagnose the malady properly. Instead of hitting at the real cause of the problem, they started focusing on individuals and the particular political parties. As a result, one has almost lost confidence of the people and the second is soon going to lose. As far as the movement by Anna Hazare is concerned, it was clear from the day one that it is being sabotaged by its own people. The close relations between prominent Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal and some Congress leaders like East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit and others and also the double role played by Swami Agnivesh had indicated in the beginning itself that there is definitely a relation between the Congress and Anna agitation. If we deeply look at it, we find that the agitation by Team Anna was a clear attempt to hijack the surge generated through the movement of Baba Ramdev, which was steadily gaining ground up to the village level generating anti-Congress and anti-MNCs wave all over the country. If we look at some initial developments we easily find that Team Anna staged the drama over Lokpal Bill in Ramlila Maidan, which was originally scripted by some Congress leaders and they both, Team Anna and Congress, tried their best to make the people fool. The people were told that all demands of Anna Hazare have been accepted, but practically nothing happened. After the first drama of 2011, Team Anna engaged in elections, this time too with a per-written script. First, it went to by-election in Haryana and then to assembly elections in five states. Their canvassing against Congress in those elections too had a set agenda. “Team Anna basically worked to ensure the victory of Congress candidate and surely not me. I knew it from the day one. That is why I did not rely upon them at all,” said BJP-HVC candidate Kuldeep Bishnoi after winning the Hisar Lok Sabha by-election. (Also see box why Congress created Team Anna?) Till the announcement of assembly poll results in five states, it was clearly visible that Team Anna lost direction and goal. The announcement of 25th July fast by Arvind Kejriwal at Jantar Mantar, even without consulting Anna Hazare, was the last nail in the coffin of this agitation. Though Anna later joined the fast under pressure from the team members, it dramatically culminated with a surprised call of launching a political outfit. Anna was seen too much hurt at this announcement that the very next day he dissolved the team and also made it clear that he would not join the proposed political outfit. If team Anna launches a political outfit in coming days, it will only join the same corrupt political system against which it started agitation. It will practically benefit the political party, which is supposed to be opposed by this new political outfit. One more fact seems to be relevant here. It proves beyond any doubt that Anna agitation was really launched to hijack the agitation of Baba Ramdev. Baba Ramdev had announced to observe fast on August 9 at Ramlila Maidan. Soon After this announcement, Arvind Kejriwal, even without consulting Anna Hazare, declared to observe a similar fast at Jantar Mantar on July 25. The question is, if both Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare are fighting for the same cause, why Kejriwal declared the fast of July 25, even when Baba Ramdev had already announced the fast. Kejriwal basically wanted to derail the agitation of Baba Ramdev. He is such a shameless fellow that after sabotaging Anna movement he joined Baba Ramdev at Ambedkar Stadium on July 14. If we sincerely look at the agitation of Baba Ramdev, we find a clear sharpness and lucidity in it since the very beginning. It might have opposed the government, but the support of some individuals and parties to his agitation was also clear. Baba has a good team of dedicated workers across the country. Perhaps, no other social or religious organisation today has such a committed team up to the village level. Baba is also clear about his agenda. It was because of his unprecedented show of strength displayed on many occasions that he has to repeatedly face the ire of the government. Whatever happened at the early hours of June 5, 2011 at Ramlila Grounds proves it. Despite so much strength, the agitation of Baba too appears to be shifting to the grip of a major threat. The way the Congress tried to draw undue benefit from the agitation of Anna Hazare and the common man was ultimately cheated, the agitation by Baba Ramdev appears to be going in the hands of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance or the anti-Congress parties. The presence of BJP president Nitin Gadkari and NDA convener Sharad Yadav and the open support of some other political parties including Shiromani Akali Dal, Janata Party, Shiv Sena, Telugu Desam Party, Bahujan Party, Samajwadi Party, CPI, Biju Janata Dal, etc. to the fast of Baba on August 13 is an alarm bell for Baba. There is no harm in seeking support of any political party, but it is unacceptable that the political parties hijack the whole agitation just for their immediate political mileage. (See box what political leaders say about Baba’s agitation) By and large if we have a closer look at the agitation of Baba Ramdev, certain things are crystal clear right from the day one. It was quite natural that being a saffron-clad saint and a yoga guru, Baba Ramdev was against the Congress and he maintained close relations with the RSS and BJP. The RSS also regularly tried to maintain good coordination with Baba. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat openly admitted extending support to the agitation of Baba. He not only condemned the midnight crackdown on Baba’s supporters at Ramlila Maidan but his cadre also helped the victims for many days. “The RSS is not behind the stir but we have definitely extended support to agitation of Baba Ramdev," RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said in Nagpur while addressing the concluding ceremony of third year training camp last year. He said the RSS in its annual meeting held in Puttur (Karnataka) in 2011 also adopted a resolution extending support to Baba Ramdev. “RSS cannot remain a mute spectator to the social revolution taking place against corruption and black money. Therefore, we asked our cadres to join the agitation,” the resolution said. On the other hand the BJP tried its best to ensure that Baba launches a tirade against Congress, but he presents only the BJP as a political alternative. That is why in June 2010 when Baba Ramdev announced to launch a political outfit, the BJP leaders were seen very restless for many days. They had many rounds of talk on this issue with Baba. Some top RSS leaders also played a key role in arranging those meetings. Finally, Baba agreed that he would not launch a political outfit. Then the RSS associated its veteran ideologue KN Govindacharya with Baba’s agitation. Though, Govindacharya was prominently raising all these issues for a long time, he, being the supporter of a non-political agitation, felt uneasy while working with Baba, as Baba continued to maintain close relations with the BJP leaders. Another reason was that Baba has always been in favour of keeping the movement self-centred. Finally, Govindacharya distanced from the agitation. It is widely believed that after the midnight crackdown on Baba’s supporters in Delhi, Baba fully accepted the support of BJP. Sources point out that some time back Baba had a marathon meeting with BJP leaders in the presence of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur. It was agreed at the meeting that the RSS indirectly and the BJP openly would support the agitation and Baba will not talk about launching a political outfit. Strategically, it was not a wrong decision on the part of Baba. Since his agitation is not just against the people sitting in power but against the entire faulty system, launching a new political outfit will defeat the real objective. Secondly, the way the democratic government of Independent India was repeatedly crushing the democratic agitations on the line of British rule, seeking support of political parties was not strategically wrong. But the way it was announced from the dais to defeat a particular party and support another in the 2014 general elections indicates that this agitation too has changed direction and lost destination. Instead of exposing the failures of the system, awakening the people and working for an alternative system of governance, it seems this movement will also die after defeating or making victorious some leaders or political parties. “Anna Hazare and Ramdev’s movements against graft are nothing but an empty gas. Nothing is going to happen. Corruption is going to stay here for the next 15 years,” says Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju. In the beginning of the movement it was hoped that it will work for connecting religion with politics to fulfill the vision of Mahatma Gandhi. But the fast it lost its direction only disappoints the countrymen. Basically, it is not the question of seeking support and extending support to anyone. It is much more. “It is not yet clear what the relations between them are, but sometimes the agitations are bigger than the leaders. For example, the freedom movement was bigger than Mahatma Gandhi and agitation against Emergency was bigger than Jaiprakash Narayan,” says Prof. Anand Kumar, a professor in the Department of Sociology in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, while commenting on the movement of Baba Ramdev. In fact, the big question is whether Baba Ramdev be able to keep the agitation bigger than the leaders?
Why the Congress clandestinely supported Anna?
Trapped in innumerable scams from toe to the neck and growing influence of Baba Ramdev’s agitation, the Congress was feeling uneasy for over two years. The uneasiness became unbearable after the surfacing of Commonwealth Game scam in 2010. The flood of scams then embraced the Congress to the extent that even the intelligence agencies warned it to lose all the forthcoming elections. This calculation, however, proved correct in most of the elections held thereafter. Extremely disturbed over all these developments, the Congress, as usual, decided to divide the voters who were uniting against it, whether through the campaign by Baba Ramdev or due to the impact of the scams. It is with this objective in mind that some Congress leaders reportedly persuaded Arvind Kejriwal to launch a movement against the Government itself and moblise a large chunk of anti-Congress voters. Arvind Kejriwal was aware of his weaknesses. Therefore, he persuaded Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi and others who have clean image for such a movement. What happened then is known to all. When Anna Hazare started fast at Ramlila Maidan in 2011, Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit, who is said to be a very close friend of Kejriwal, reportedly mediated between the government and Team Anna. Source say, even some Congress leaders funded the campaign in the beginning. Swami Agnivesh had also been planted in the movement so that all inside information reach the Congress crises managers timely. We all know that Agnivesh while acting as a Congress stooge, supplied all strategic information to Kapil Sibal and other Congress leaders. He had to be removed from the team as he was exposed while supplying such information to Sibal. Another objective of pushing Agnivesh into team Anna was that the RSS or BJP leaders will not try to hijack the Anna agitation. The real objective behind issuing repeated statements by some Congress leaders like Digvijay Singh blaming the RSS and BJP for Anna and agitation was basically to keep the Sangh Parivar away from the agitation. There is one more fact. If Anna agitation was against the system and was open to all countrymen why he always opposed sharing the dais with the RSS leaders? The reason is being a Congress supporter or a stooge, Kejriwal hates the BJP and RSS people. The present announcement to launch a political party too only leads one to believe that the whole exercise was to divide the anti-Congress votes, which will ultimately benefit the Congress. Kejriwal’s love for Congress was once again exosed on August 22 when he declared to start agitation against BJP. The reason of his new agitaion is that the BJP, following startaling revealations by CAG regarding irrigularities in coal block alloction, declared that it would not let the Parliament function till the Prime Minister does not resign.
Major scams nagging the Congress since 2010 • Ultra Mega Power Projects Scam • IGI Airport Scam • Coal Mining Scam • Andhra Pradesh land scam - 100,000 crore • Forex derivates scam - 32,000 crore • Service Tax and Central Excise Duty fraud - 19,159 crore • Maharashtra stamp duty scam - 640 crore • Maharashtra land scam • MHADA repair scam - 100 crore • Highway scam - 70 crore • Ministry of External Affairs gift scam • Flying Club fraud - 190 crore • Andhra Pradesh liquor scam • NHPC cement scam • Haryana forest scam • Toilet scam • Delhi surgical gloves procurement scam • Aadhar scam • BEML housing society scam • MSTC gold export scam - 464 crore • TIN scam • ISRO's S-band scam (also known as ISRO-Devas deal, which was later called off) • NTRO scam - 800 crore • KG Basin Oil scam • Goa mining scam • Pune housing scam • Pune land scam • Kerala investment scam - 1,000 crore • Mumbai Sales Tax fraud - 1,000 crore • Maharashtra education scam-1,000 crore • Maharashtra PDS scam • Indian Air Force land scam • Tatra scam - 750 crore • Assam Education scam • Stamp Paper scam • 2G spectrum scam • Adarsh Housing Society scam • Commonwealth Games scam • Assam North Cachar Hills scam - 1,000 crore • Arunachal Pradesh PDS scam - 1,000 crore • LIC housing loan scam • Belekeri port scam • Andhra Pradesh Emmar scam - 2,500 crore • Indian Premier League scandal • MCI bribery scandal
All out support to Baba -Nitin Gadkari “We will support Baba in everything that he wants in this fight. His agitation should not be seen from political lenses and BJP doesn't expect any political support from Baba Ramdev. He is fighting for a corruption-free India and has no political intentions. The black money stashed in banks abroad should be brought back and spent on farmers and the poor.” Don’t make mockery of the agitation -Nitish Kumar “Ramdevji is raising his voice for a just cause. It is a subject of public interest and that is the reason why JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav went to the dharna site. We fully support this movement. Those who were making a mockery of this agitation will make mockery of themselves one day." Seek support of all parties -Mayawati "We are supportive of the black money issue raised by yoga guru. However, we do not agree the way he allowed NDA leaders to make speeches from his platform against other political parties. I don't think it is correct. He should neither go to NDA nor UPA, but seek support from all parties. He should not invite political parties but appeal to them for support as political fronts can never be successful.” Masks have fallen off - Congress general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi Baba Ramdev is fighting a political battle in the name of campaigning against black money and his real intentions have been exposed. With the visit of BJP president Nitin Gadkari to the protest venue the "mask" has come off. The real face of Ramdev has been exposed to the people. The fight is political. As far as the issue of black money is concerned, the government has brought out a white paper. Steps have been taken and more will be taken.” BJP has no right to talk of black money -Congress leader Rajiv Shukla “The UPA is the first government that has brought back black money worth Rs 48,000 crore into the country. But when the NDA and BJP leaders were in power, did they even bring back black money worth Rs 48? Those who did not bring back black money worth Rs 48 during their six-year rule and protected the black money holders, have no right to join Baba Ramdev on his platform and raise their voice that black money should be brought back.” Praising one and abusing other will not achieve the goal -Mulayam Singh Yadav “Ideally Baba Ramdev should have appealed to all political parties to find a solution in Parliament and make a Lokpal, but he called a particular party to his stage to abuse another party and I think this way we would not be able to achieve our goal.” Yes, we supported Baba Ramdev -RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat "The RSS was not behind the stir launched by Baba Ramdev seeking repatriation of the black money stashed away in foreign banks but have definitely extended all support to his agitation. We also at our Puttur meeting had adopted a resolution extending support to Baba Ramdev. RSS cannot remain a mute spectator to the social revolution taking place against corruption and black money. Therefore, we have asked our cadres to join the agitation.” We support only if the agi-tation is in Gandhian style -BJD chief Naveen Patnaik “We support all anticorrup-tion movements. And our Government has been work-ing hard to stamp out the vice. We assure Baba Ramdev that we will support the agitation if it is cond-ucted in 'Gandhian style.” Congress must be defeated in 2014 Baba Ramdev “Need of the hour today is ‘Congress Hatao, Desh Bachao’. If both the SP and the BSP withdraw support, this government will fall like a pack of cards. You (the UPA) cannot get away by saying that the BJP supports this movement… Why are you so scared of the BJP? They were the last ones to come out in support. They are the principal opposition party… The Congress has to be defeated at all costs in the coming 2014 elections. My movement has no political motive. It has a social and democratic agenda. Peace and non-violence are the edifices on which the movement stands. The government is looting the rights of the people and put the country for auction.”