Monday, June 13, 2011

Congress, Corruption and Counseling

There may be some relief for time being for congress and Manmohan Singh as Baba Ramdeo ended his fast on 12 June which he started on 4th from Ram Lila ground Delhi. It is a general perception that corruption and black money are byproducts of congress’s bad governance. After independence, congress ruled the country all along, except a full term of BJP ruled by Atalji. One question which every Indian citizen would like to know “How corruption and black money flourished after 1947 and who is responsible for it.” Diagnosing the case, we find, congress ruled most of the time with some intermittent intervals of no significance. Morraji Desai, Inder kuamr Gujral, Chaudhary charan Singh, Devagoda, Chandra shekhar, Lal bahadur shashrit, V P Singh and Atalji were lucky to serve the country form the most powerful seat. But at the same time, they were unlucky also, as none got full term except Atalji- he got one after a short term. If one determines responsibility for corruption and black money, these intermittent PMs would take excuse that they got very short period, so couldn’t do anything effective. But what answer congress will put before the nation. Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajeev Gandhi and now Manmohan Singh got sufficient time to cure and check this cancerous disease.

For the sake of saying, we are multi-party system in India, but prior to Atal our polity-system was effectively single-party-system. At national level congress was only effective party. The advent of AtalJi as PM made our polity two-party-system in true scenes. Situation is still same as at national level only congress and BJP is having wide followings and many CMs. On this front also congress is cornered. Simply we can say congress would have cured easily as there was no strong opposition.

Slowly and gradually, corruption becomes part of life. Citizens oppose it but there was no way out, except to accept it and keep it as anger. With the passage of the time, the overload corruption is now unbearable and intolerable. Citizens are simmering under heavyweight of anger of corruption and trying to find some means to take it out. In this regard, all constitutional organs contributed but lions share is of Legislative and followed by babus. Public have lost hope with these two wings and they think them real culprit. They were looking for a ray of hope for long to challenge these menace. BJP tried to make black money an issue in 2009 election but didn’t get public attention. Public knows, they also did nothing to curb corruption in preceding five years- with Atal as PM. People are disappointed with these two actual national parties and trying to get alternative means.

Baba Ramdeo popularized yoga to remove health problems. He reached to a large section of society through his ICT enabled social marketing routes. Almost 4% populations have access to internet to facilitate the molding of public opinion to have a strong soft power. Mobile has an added advantage over internet as its reach is more wide-spread as compared to internet. Its catalytic action made Baba the foremost figure on this social issue, in a very short span and he did it successfully using modern tools, technology and tactics of ICT and marketing. He is a great social marketer. He started awakening public on this social issue by forming a trust- Bharat Swabhiman. In the mean time, Anna Hazare took up the issue of lokpal bill and sat on Jantar Mantar. Public got the vent to blow out their accumulated anger with the help of Annaji. He acted as venting rod and in exchange he got support what they could not have imagined. Congress assessed the gravity and accepted the demand. This incident made corruption start floating as an issue in the society, but as natural, Baba was not happy as Anna reaped the crop sowed by Baba. To regain the lost ground, Baba announced his program of protest with three issues and bringing Black money stashed outside was prominent among them.

Manmohan government handled Anna episode tactfully without any great loss, but did’t learn any lesson as evident by baba’s case. So, by mishandling the Baba’s case, congress will pay a heavy cost for it in long-term. After forceful eviction in midnight from Delhi, Baba kept his fast and got wide publicity over a longer period. Phase-1 of Anna and Baba is over now. Both are cent-percent successful in their aim to make the issue popular. Like Bofors and Mandal, the trees of corruption and black money are panted by duo. It will give sever pain in due course and finally congress will have to pay its cost in 2014 election. After some break, both team will raise their issues and play in full swing as annoyed to make it a permanent imprint in citizen’s mind. Acharya Balkrishna announced that phase-2 of Baba’s stir in 3 months. They have enough time to do their job as 2014 election is almost 3 yrs away from now. Present public mood indicates that next loksabha election may be fought on these social issues. Annoyed Anna and irritated Baba is not going to sit ideally till they achieve something concrete to show the followers. Anna has a good team and maturity and Baba will mature on social front as this incident has jolted him from inside to learn a lot. It is hoped his Phase-2 will be in better shape and will show maturity and seriousness in style like Anna do

Team Anna wanted to be a part of Lokpal drafting team. Seeing the mounting public pressure, good sense prevailed. Hence, Manmohan accepted the demand immediately and shortened the life of this incident to minimize the damage. Both teams of Anna and Government managed the situation showing expected maturity. After accepting demand, Government with the congress help tried to malign image of the team Anna. This annoyed public against congress as public is fed-up with it and don’t want to hear anything on this. All such implicit or explicit actions are counter productive. In Baba’s case, both team-Baba and Government showed immature actions and reactions. The forceful eviction decision in midnight from Ramlila Ground was an administrative blunder in congress history as endorsed by veteran congress leader Basant Sathe in a statement. On the whole, so far, overall gainer is Baba and overall looser is congress and Manmohan government. His continued fast and deteriorating health for more than 8 days, kept him continuously in news with wide coverage in all media. This made his issue more popular than expected. Baba became champion of black money due to miscalculated move by government and illogical and loose talks by some congress leaders. Congress’ image has sagged greatly with public perception that it is trying to crush the movement or divert the issue against corruption and black money by duo. Congress applied same tactics to malign the image of Baba also like Anna by laughable, light and loose-statements. During whole episode Digvijay Singh become famous as man of loose-talk and non-serious leader. His personal image has suffered a lot. This is the reason public pelted stone at his house situated in MP and tried to lodge FIR too as evident form news.

Problems started by a CAG report in 2G spectrum and followed by CWG, Adarsh housing society scams. BJP blew these issues out of proportion one after the other and did ICT enabled political marketing to get political mileage but at fiasco. Why? Public knows the inside story that BJP did nothing while in power. All along the episode, public showed one more very peculiar sentiment that they didn’t want to drag these nation importance issues into politics. Government controlled the emergency situation and minimized the damage by sending A. Raja and Kalmani to jail and by changing CM in Maharashtra. In public’s eyes congress took wise step to manage then immediate political crisis and compulsions. Actions in different cases improved the sagging reputation and public was convinced that congress is doing Ok if not good.

But in case of Baba, things are beyond thinking. Administrative scanning and analysis show that mismanagement has created an impression that congress is making an all out effort to foil the movement against corruption. Congress fears if it will surface many its person may be in trouble. Public also thought that corruption and black money are two bad intangible social products of proudy governance of congress. If it will be an issue in coming elections-having potential to be, it would not be easy for congress to avoid its ownership. As opposition, BJP will try its best to prove congress as parent of these two bad produces. And finally it may lead to great loss- to the extent may be of loosing government like Bofors and Mandal in past. History repeats itself fit here.

In short-term, it looks good for political managers and actors in containing the situation, but in long-term congress has to pay a heavy price with high interest rate if corrective measures are not undertaken immediately. To support, see statement of Prnab Mukharjee. He called incident as unfortunate and this was supplemented by defense minister concisely. He who is one confident of top leadership and enjoying good reputation as Mr. clean said very rightly “Transition to Transparency can’t be stopped midway.” This is a timely advisory from within to purge the sin to fit in the party and government in the public mould. Congress has sufficient time to put the things in reverse gear in the clean leadership of Anthony on these issues – unlike Sibal and Digvijay, provided good sense prevails. To achieve this, congress needs to prove its honest efforts to the masses through different visible actions and initiatives. Further congress must try an all out effort to fulfill the public’s demand on these two issues to make BJP, Anna and Baba offensive from their defensive point of firing.

Transparency is getting grip worldwide. This is in fact a time of wonder for politics with its 'transparency revolution, India is joining in. It's time for our politicians to see that big picture. And drop their small talk. Congress should take the lead being oldest party instead looking backward.

(Views are in personal capacity based on different sources)

Article by:
Heera Lal
Joint Regsitrar, U P State Administrative Tribuanl at Govt. of Uttar Pradesh

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