A simple perusal of the movements of the past 3-4 days throw up a very interesting scenario. Anna Hazare and team have, for all practical purposes, accepted that pushing a workable as well as effective Lokpal through the current set of polticians is going to be next to impossible. They have gone to plan-B – namely, trying to provide a political alternative; thereby effectively vacating the plank (at least for now) of the Lokpal. Simultaneously, Baba Ramdev organises a “dharna”
And, unfortunately, the locus of the demand – and the media and public pressure – shift from the Lokpal to bringing back black money. Nothing wrong with that in principle; with one significant caveat. While the Lokpal focuses on solving the root of the problem and affixing accountability, the “bring back black money” movement very neatly shifts the focus from the core of the problem to its effects. It is like treating the fever, not the illness…
What is even more interesting is the political support for Baba Ramdev – at least for the bring back black money movement. It provides the opposition the opportunity to target the incumbent government without the attendant commitments or dangers of the Lokpal. And immediately, you have the opposition targeting the UPA-2. Excellent! It also provides the regional parties with the chance to hitch themselves onto the seemingly lucrative anti-corruption platform without doing any concrete about it. What a classic strategy – and transparently obvious as well.
The Bring Back Black Money brigade has the media attention; public attention – after all, a rather large some of money is involved; it offers immediate (!!!!!!!) fruits – or the promise of immediate fruits; it is good advertisement of intentions; and gives the semblance of doing everything in your power against corruption while in reality you are doing nothing. What could be better and more convenient – at least for some people?
Meanwhile, the Lokpal has been forgotten yet again… apart from the sporadic statements from UPA-2 to get it passed in this session. The political class has as yet failed to act on a Supreme Court order to free the Indian Police from political control; in the light of that, I sincerely doubt whether an effective Lokpal will be passed. In fact, I sincerely doubt whether even an eye-wash Lokpal will see the light of day. While the Lokpal is specific & provides concrete measures against corruption; “Bring Back Black Money” is very unspecific; has no commitments, no dates, no accountability and certainly no affixed responsibility attached to it…
And it captures the imagination of the political class, the media, and I daresay the People.
While the people who fought for the Lokpal without any discernible interest for themselves lie forgotten… please remember that had the bill been passed last year, this entire “enter politics” imbroglio would not have happened. As things stand, not only do we not have a Lokpal, we do not have any pressure on the political class for a Lokpal… excellent strategy by some people, might I add! And Lokpal? Whats that???????