Congress should not try to protect it from behind

FRANKLY SPEAKING SEEMA MUSTAFA

Ramdev should be left to do what he is suppo

sedly good at- yoga.One can only hope that sense will prevail, and the Congress will realise that it is in government, and that corruption has to be tackled from the front and not managed and protected from the back.

The Congress party, adept at creating political monsters, is working hard at it once again. Having learnt no lessons from the Bhindranwale era that plunged Punjab and the rest of the country into violence, the Congress is keen to convert Baba Ramdev into a civil society mascot.

Three senior ministers rushed to meet the yoga man when he arrived in Delhi, led by no less a person than Indias Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Others included Kapil Sibal and Subodh Kant Sahay whose little moment in the spotlights was because he claimed to know the yoga expert well.

As the newspapers pointed out, the welcome defied all protocol as Ramdev was received by three ministers, wanting him to call off his fast, or at least ensure that he and the government and of course the Congress were all on the same page. The Congress party, of course, has made some noises to the contrary but these can be dismissed easily as part of the usual Congress ploy to play both sides, just in case things donalt146t work out as planned. It can be presumed that Ramdev will be on the same page, as greater mortals than him have found it difficult to resist the show of fawning state power that was put up for his benefit. Also it must be remembered that he has already bailed the government out on the crucial issue of whether the Prime Minister should be included in the purview of the proposed Lokpal Bill. ‘ No needalt146 declared the yoga gentleman even as other representatives of civil society were engaged in hard negotiations with the government.

The government has succeeded, as was the real intention, in dividing the initial support that Anna Hazare had been able to muster. The tactics were simple, and again something that the Congress is skilled at. Sufficient fingers were raised against Hazare and the civil society representatives working with him to create confusion, and confusion as all of us know always works to the advantage of governments. Civil society is too divided and weak to take advantage of created chaos. The battle thus is being lost even before it has begun, with the government and the ruling party having surrounded the rather naove lawyers and others from all sides.

It just now has to announce ‘ checkmatealt146 which it will before the monsoon session of Parliament begins, and thereby ensure that the supposed fight against corruption becomes the preserve of Ramdev who will by then have emerged as the consensus figure for the government and all those who have more to hide than reveal. This is the game that is being played out now, and by the time Parliament meets, the political parties will be overwhelmingly relieved to find that the ruling party has ‘ managedalt146 the crisis to the satisfaction of all.

It is obvious that the government panicked when Hazare and his men started the fast, and got overwhelming support from various sections of society. Instead of embracing the protest as part of a commitment to cleanse the country of deep and paralyzing corruption, the government became the opposition and used its reserve of experts, like Pranab Mukherjee and Kapil Sibal, to tackle the unsuspecting and relatively innocent civil society on the issue. Suffice it to say that the players seeking to bring in some accountability were no match, and the Congress has been on top of the game for a while now. The decision to ‘ consultalt146 chief ministers – many of whom m

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