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Monday, June 09, 2014  

UPA Government exposed in India's fight against Corruption

"The irony with the current UPA government ruling over India is that instead of respecting the voice of people, the leaders of Congress often try to suppress the voice by using its force and by targeting the individual who leads the movement. Like, the leaders targeted Baba Ramdev terming him a cheat, a fraud and finally attacking his camp in the midnight, the government here arrested Anna and over 2500 of his supporters to fizzle out the movement that bore a little hope for the citizens of the whole country. These steps by a democratically elected government reminded the citizens of the atrocities by the colonial government of the pre-independence days when India as a nation didn’t exist."

Basudev Mahapatra

   

The arrest of Anna Hazare and his supporters in the name of preventing anything unusual, as apprehended by the leaders of Indian National Congress (INC) who are now ruling the country, has not only exposed how terrified the UPA government and the INC members are with every single voice raised outside the parliament and outside the premises that are under complete control of the Congress party.

Anna Hazare declared it much early to go on hunger strike at JP (Jayprakash) Park in New Delhi; sought permission from Delhi Police to carry on his non-violent hunger strike demanding implementation of the Jan Lokpal (People’s ombudsman) Bill that empowers the Lokpal to prosecute the Prime Minister and judges in higher judiciary of the country including the Members of Parliament involved in “Cash for Vote” scam. Claiming that these points, on inclusion in the Lokpal Bill drafted by the government panel, would limit the constitutional status and power, the UPA government attempted to sabotage the movement in support of the Jan Lokpal Bill by arresting Anna Hazare who leads the movement and has drawn huge support from different cross-sections of Indian Society.

CONSTITUTIONAL STATUS OF CITIZENS IGNORED

Now the question is whether the common citizen of India has a constitutional status and power and whether the rights and powers of an ordinary citizen should be respected and protected by the government or sacrificed for the interests of political parties and people holding chairs in the top hierarchy of the parliamentary democracy and judiciary? When the preamble of the constitution declares the very common citizen as the most powerful with highest constitutional status and power while saying, “We the people of India”, it was shocking to see the leaders of ruling Congress party condemning the non-violent movement started with Anna Hazare as its face as illegal and unconstitutional. The statements of Congress leaders, whose only intention was to prove Anna’s hunger strike and the movement joined by millions across the country wrong, not only did defy the constitutional authority of the citizens of India but they also exposed how feudalism still rules over the democratic system of India.

The irony with the current UPA government ruling over India is that instead of respecting the voice of people, the leaders of Congress often try to suppress the voice by using its force and by targeting the individual who leads the movement. Like, the leaders targeted Baba Ramdev terming him a cheat, a fraud and finally attacking his camp in the midnight, the government here arrested Anna and over 2500 of his supporters to fizzle out the movement that bore a little hope for the citizens of the whole country. These steps by a democratically elected government reminded the citizens of the atrocities by the colonial government of the pre-independence days when India as a nation didn’t exist. The steps brought no gain but turned fatal to the government with the support to Anna growing further and the movement swelling every next moment. The urban middle class turned outrageous with the feeling that their rights to oppose anything wrong and fatal to the nation have been seized.

UPA GOVERNMENT’S DUALITY TOWARDS ISSUE OF CORRUPTION

There was a little hope when the government accepted to bring the Lokpal bill in the parliament and constituted a drafting committee after Anna’s four days hunger strike in the month of April 2011. But the hope didn’t sustain as the government prepared a draft omitting Prime Minister, Judges in the higher judiciary and the Members of the Parliament on the plea that empowering the Lokpal to prosecute persons holding the aforesaid positions would endanger their constitutional status and power.

Unlike the president of India, Prime Minister is one among the equals as per Indian Constitution. So, if others in the ministry and the officials at the top level can be prosecuted by the Lokpal, then why the Prime Minister can’t be? And, at a time when the Prime Ministers of the country have been named in many scams including the recent 2G spectrum scam, there is no point keeping the person in position out of ambit of Lokpal. The provision of prosecution would rather become an opportunity for the PM to save his own face and that of the government by explaining before Lokpal the stand and position of his own and his government as well.

Same is the case of higher judiciary which has also failed in keeping its sanctity intact. Allegations of corruption in higher judiciary have come in numbers during the past years. Even members of judiciary including the Chief Justice of India have also hinted upon the fact on different occasions. And, if a justice can face impeachment in the house of parliament where the problem in bringing them within the ambit of Lokpal?

Omission of people in some specific positions points at the duality that UPA government is maintaining towards the issue of corruption. When the Prime Minister claims that his government is working to minimize corruption and bring complete transparency in the system of governance, what is the point in keeping the person in the position out of Lokpal’s ambit? In fact, as a display of his government’s will, if at all it is there, to bring transparency and also to bring down the  level of corruption in public offices, the Prime Minister must volunteer to keep himself open for prosecution in case any grave allegation that indicates his or his office’ involvement in something wrong.

MANDATE IS NO LICENSE FOR CORRUPTION AND UNLAWFUL ACTION

Replying to the question why the Prime Minister is kept out of ambit of the forthcoming Lokpal, Rahul Gandhi said during his Orissa visit in the month of July that, “we suggested that the Prime Minister should not be prosecuted because, in such a position, the person needs more flexibility and freedom to work for the country”.

But what to when the Prime Minister’s name comes in a huge scam of 1.76 lakh crore rupees; when the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) engages itself in favouring companies that are into unlawful activities in India, like pursuing hard for the largest FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) project POSCO that operates without a valid MoU with the government and, also, influencing the ministries to grant permission to POSCO etc? who should be accountable for such unlawful acts under thorough insistence of PMO?

While defending the position of the government senior congress leaders like Kapil Sibbal and party spokes person often rubbish the movement against corruption and the hunger strike by Anna Hazare. While senior Congress leaders like Pranab Mukherjee argue that Anna is not a law maker and, only, the parliament can only do it. Many even termed Anna as a blackmailer. More often, the leaders of Congress party cited at the people’s mandate that placed them in power. Is the mandate obtained in the last election a license for rampant corruption and scams taken place in the last years and has it been obtained to implement such a Lokpal bill that can prosecute small Pisces in the ocean of corruption leaving the whales to roam free?

POLITICAL LEADERSHIP: PARTY FIRST, COUNTRY NEXT

It seems that Congress party leaders have come down to the bottom of integrity by using people’s mandate to justify their acts that are clearly against the people of the land. Anti-corruption slogans by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi are just political slogans without a bit of will to make India a corruption free country. Rather, the actions to suppress the voice of people against corruption raise number of questions about the integrity and credential of the Congress Party, its leaders and the UPA government. The way the party leaders are defending the actions of the government intended to suppress the people’s movement against corruption, there is no point disbelieving that the Congress leaders are more party men than Indians.

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