Yogesh Pratap Singh
Could be reached at- yogeshpratapsingh AT gmail.com
Anna’s fall was predicted by me in April 2011 in an article in Tehelka. New York Times and others in media are analysing the same now when it should have been done then. People did not believe in me. TV channels were so obsessed with Anna’s glitter that after they heard me speak negative about Anna in various forums, t...hey kept me out from all interviews and panel discussions. For, TV Channels wanted only those activists in the panel who praised Anna. This was despite the fact that I was the only old associate of Anna who sat in fast with him in the year 2003. It is sad that when there were such glaring dubious elements to the entire agitation yet people did not see it even when it was brought before them.
THIS ONCE AGAIN PROVES THAT UNLIKE DEVELOPED NATIONS INDIANS GO BY MOMENTARY PASSION AND NOT BE HARD LOGIC. ARTICLE IN TEHELKA DATED 30 APRILE 2011: CHASING A MIRAGE: Soon after quitting the service in an attempt to reform a corrupt system, I was disillusioned to see Anna Hazare’s love for the trappings of power Yogesh Pratap Singh Mumbai MUMBAI, 2003.
Starting 9 August — August Kranti Day — Anna Hazare was to go on a fast demanding anticorruption measures. At that time, I was a serving officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS) posted in Mumbai. I checked the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, and could find nothing prohibiting collaboration with anti-corruption activists. I decided to join Anna in his fast. It was a modest scene then. The press was active but there was no hype. Unknown people, mostly from rural backgrounds, comprised the bulk of Anna’s supporters. Very few intellectuals were to be seen. For a couple of days, I sat on the stage next to Anna. After eight days of fasting, the then rather unknown Right to Information Ordinance specific to Maharashtra state, which had lapsed earlier, got resurrected in the form of an Act. Some decisions were also taken to decentralise powers of gram panchayats. I had to face the music within a fortnight. The Maharashtra government shunted me to Nagpur and subsequent events resulted in my leaving the IPS two years on.
But I wasn’t unhappy. As a matter of fact, I was reasonably optimistic, though some of Anna’s close associates were not exactly inspiring confidence. Besides, his inability to grasp the complex dynamics of modern times was a limitation. I soon realised that my perception of Anna was a mirage. As reality descended, I felt disillusioned. That was why I decided not to join the crusade at Jantar Mantar. Many reasons, one after the other, kept me away.
My first shock came when I saw a person fighting against the government so enamoured by authority. If a senior politician or minister called up Anna, he would feel gratified. Soon thereafter, he started moving in government vehicles with red beacon lights. I rode with him once. After I got off at Dadar, Anna drove to the plush High Mount Government Guest House at Malabar Hill, meant for high-level dignitaries. Scheming people in the Maharashtra government resolutely wooed Anna.
Exploiting his quest for eminence, the government would organise meetings of IAS officers to be chaired by him in the sixth-floor conference hall of CM Vilasrao Deshmukh. A special room was given at Mantralaya for Anna’s people, who started using it as their office. In sum, Anna became an extra-constitutional authority within the Maharashtra government.
Obviously, notwithstanding the rampant corruption in the state, he was no longer a threat to anyone associated with the government. However, I still thought those were minor issues.
The point of no return was reached when Anna took information from me with respect to two cases.
First was the Adarsh Society case, where the involvement of two Central ministers, namely Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde, had become apparent in falsifying file notings.
The other was the Lavasa case, where the most startling revelation was that Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule and her husband held a 21 percent share, and that these shares were allotted to them at highly undervalued rates. Anna spoke on the issue cosmetically, backtracking soon after.
He decided not to speak against the Central ministers from Maharashtra, whose involvement in corruption had become a matter of record. In his agitation at Jantar Mantar, where the world was watching him, Anna never spoke about Pawar and his specific role in the Lavasa scam. He also never spoke against Deshmukh and Shinde, which should have been done first, before the demand for the Jan Lokpal Bill was taken up.
Finally, think about these:
How could activists who would need to do a critical appraisal of the final outcome themselves become part of the Lokpal Bill drafting exercise?
Why was there not a single woman in his 10-member committee?
Also, where are Anna’s old associates?
The coterie around him ensured these questions weren’t asked.
Madhu Rayala, USA