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Issue No.: 559 | January 2014
 

Winds of Change Presage Hope of New Political Order

H. R. Bapu Satyanarayana
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From the time of S. H. Kapadia, who was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, there has been a refreshing change in the attitude of the judiciary which has left little scope for the UPA government to protect itself by adopting dilatory tactics or suppressing facts to justify its questionable stand.

The idea of India

Sixty-six years ago India gained independence from the British bifurcating a large sub-continent into India and Pakistan. Both countries paid a heavy price when millions were massacred as a consequence of this largest mass migration and cross transfer of people in history. It may be unrealistic to expect dramatic changes during this span of life in the evolution of a nation and yet it is amazing how much has happened to shape the nation’s destiny. All signs are that at present India stands at the threshold of breaking into the ranks of developed countries, a tribute to the inherent strength of its 5000-year-old culture.   

It is said that the decline of a nation starts when values suffer and morality dips precipitously. Events in the past few years have seen India plunging into such a situation with ubiquitous corruption catalyzed by political values and morality reaching its nadir. However, it is fortuitous that recent developments give hope of a reversal of the situation. This perhaps can be attributed to the same syndrome of the past when despite repeated onslaught by invading armies and India ruled by a diverse conglomeration of kings and local satraps, the land mass now called India  successfully resisted the invaders designs to subjugate India. In fact, the reverse happened. They could not break the spirit of India notwithstanding the machination of Mir Jaffers; instead, the invaders were absorbed into the mainstream of Indian culture. That, in fact is the strength of India’s heritage, of its values and culture. It is this same spirit that is thwarting the designs of corrupt politicians to subvert the system for their selfish ends and forced them to fall in line.

Rahul’s Outburst

Rahul Gandhi’s youthful indiscretion caused serious embarrassment within his own party by his statement describing the proposed promulgation of an ordinance that sought to negate the verdict of the Supreme Court to disqualify politicians with criminal record from contesting elections and debarring them from Parliament as "nonsense”. This has dealt a body blow to the politicians with criminal background who enjoyed political patronage and immunity from prosecution. 

There is a lot of speculation as to why Rahul Gandhi so suddenly upset the apple cart by challenging the decision, which was taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his own mother Sonia Gandhi. What is amusing is that wisdom suddenly seemed to have dawned on the Congress leaders to reverse their stand to say that Rahul’s view is the party’s view! It is not as if Rahul was ignorant of the series of scams that have brought infamy to the UPA government. The question is why has Rahul been silent until now when it has already resulted in considerable collateral damage to the economy and security of the country? By his action he must be conscious that he has created a hurdle for himself for he has to live up to this image every time the UPA government embarks on a move that could to subvert the system.

My Perception 

This outburst says something about Rahul's political philosophy, which has always been an enigma and continues to be so even now. Perhaps it was prompted by his youthful exuberance and discomfiture with the maneuvering of the caucus of elder politicians or the fact that youngsters of the party whose cause he espouses are being denied a role in politics. Possibly, he was himself feeling unequal for the job and besides he must have felt uneasy about his family’s dynastic politics that has only brought many family tragedies. There is a touch of his father’s idealism in him. 

Remember Rahul had once mentioned that there is no inner party democracy in the Party but nobody seemed to have taken him seriously. Even in the case of Jan Lokpal Bill, which created a lot of heat and controversy in Parliament, Rahul’s suggestion of a constitutional amendment did not attract much attention either, particularly in his own party. The other crucial observations of his are worth noting. Rahul says, ‘It is time to stop this nonsense, political parties, mine and all others. If we want to fight corruption, we can't continue making these small compromises. Because if we make these small compromises, there will be compromises everywhere.’ Many political commentators and mainstream TV media, who are generally pro-Congress, may consider Rahul's statements as an expression of an angry young man without realizing the damage he has inflicted on his own Party. May be emergence of Narendra Modi who is making waves has been a contributing factor. Whatever may be the compelling reasons, at least the people have welcomed Rahul’s action as a turning point in the changing political order.

Judiciary to the Rescue

From the time of S. H. Kapadia, who was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, there has been a refreshing change in the attitude of the judiciary which has left little scope for the UPA government to protect itself by adopting dilatory tactics or suppressing facts to justify its questionable stand. This is evidenced by a series of judicial verdicts that have caught the government on its back foot. Disqualification of criminals to contest elections; giving voters the right to reject all candidates on the ballot paper (popularly  described as "none of the above”); asking the Centre to amend the Indian Penal Code to provide life imprisonment till death without any remission for heinous offences; or its ruling on the question of seeking government approval when it is being monitored by the SC are  some of the issues that have discomfited the ruling coalition led by the Congress. This attitude has spread to courts across the country so that delivery of justice is becoming faster and stricter and getting bail that much harder.

The Case of Lalu Prasad Yadav

The 17-year-old fodder scam finally caught up with RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav with the special CBI court in Ranchi pronouncing him guilty and sentencing him to 5 years in jail and a fine of him Rs. 25 lakhs and convicting 44 others including an ex-chief Minister of Bihar and several IAS officers. If those convicted remained untouched until now it was because the system was subverted by mutually self-serving interests by a close-knit criminal nexus of ministers, bureaucrats, businessmen, aided and abetted by maneuvering by central government interested in ensuring its own continuance in power. In fact, the unsuccessful attempt to promulgate the ordinance described earlier in this article was primarily to save Lalu Prasad Yadav from losing his seat in Lok Sabha! 

The Congress Persists in its Old Ways

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde wrote to all States asking them to avoid detaining innocent Muslim youths wrongfully. By making such invidious distinction referring to Muslim youths specifically and not youths in general is a blatant move to woo minority votes. In fact, this directly violates the doctrine of secularism and has serious implications for enforcement agencies putting them in a dilemma hampering investigations. This kind of vote bank politics is evident in every move of the UPA government, whether it is permitting IAS-IPS officers to travel abroad for medical treatment on the taxpayer’s money; announcing the creation of Telengana or the setting up of a 7th Pay Commission. 

Conclusion

It may be a quirk of fate, but Rahul’s time bomb has already had a positive fallout; the corrupt and criminal elements that had a free run of the country are getting unnerved. The UPA government can no longer afford to continue in its arrogant ways. The government cannot trifle with the courts as they have been doing hitherto. Probably the CBI, which was lampooned and accused of dancing to the tune of the government, will feel emboldened to assert its independence.  Hopefully, there will be more accountability now and the Jan Lokpal, Bill may see the light of the day as originally given shape by the Anna Hazare movement. 

After President Pranab Mukherjee’s forthright utterances during his recent visit to Belgium and Turkey, clearing identifying the Pakistan government’s perfidy and driving home India’s foreign policy compulsions, it is to be hoped that both, our External Affairs Minister and Prime Minister, will take a leaf from his bold lead and shed the impression of following weak-kneed policy that has only emboldened Pakistan to mount repeated unprovoked attacks on India.

H. R. BAPU SATYANARAYANA a political commentator and freelance journalist based in Mysore. Email: what_option@yahoo.co.in
 
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Editorial

The Good New and the Bad News

 

Obituary

Dr. Sheryar Ookerjee

S.V. Raju
 

Perspective

Winds of Change Presage Hope of New Political Order

H. R. Bapu Satyanarayana
 

Can We Legislate for a Better Society?

Rca Godbole
 

High Time to Abolish Governmental Awards

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Elections to Parliament: Participation of Veterans

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Comments

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The Rural Perspective

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