The former army driver and prominent social activist, Anna Hazare, made an appearance at the Congress Chintan Shivir at Jaipur on January 20. We have come to know Anna to campaign for better governance, a Lokpal bill and empowering the people, especially the poor. He has also frequently made appeals to make Gram Panchayats have a more influential role in governance. I would like to quote some statements verbatim. Note: While I quote verbatim I had to correct a few grammatical errors that were in the original text. (Quotes in blue and are numbered for reference)
1) The voices of the billion Indians are today that they want to greater say in government, in politics and in administration. This can’t be decided by hand full of people behind closed doors who are not fully accountable to them. They are telling us that India’s governmental system is stuck in the past it is become a system that robs people of their voice, a system that dis-empowers instead of empowering. But why we are in this situation, why is it I ask you, that our ministries do the work of Panchayats.
2) Why is it that the Supreme Court handles the load of lower houses of justice?
3) Power is grossly centralized in our country we only empower people at the top of a system. We
don’t believe in empowering people all the way to bottom. Every single day I meet people who
have tremendous understanding deep insight and no voice and all of us meet them, they are very
where. But almost always they are kept outside ours systems, no one can their voice, no matter
how much they try to speak no one listens. And then I meet people holding high positions with
tremendous voice but no understanding for the issues at hand.
4) Why is our youth angry... why are they out on the street...? They are angry because they
are alienated… They are excluded from the political class. They watch from the side-lines... as
the powerful drive around in their Lal Battis… Why are the women suffering... because their
voice is being trampled upon by people who have arbitrary powers over their lives. Why are the
poor confined to powerlessness and poverty...
5) RTI allows every single Indian to personally take on the battle against corruption.
6) People who are corrupt stand up and talk about eradicating corruption… and then people
who disrespect women everyday over day of their life… talk about women rights.
I could go on and on but I’m sure you can search online for the full text of the speech and read it on many sites. So what was the response to Anna’s speech? Predictably, NDTV, CNN-IBN and all similar channels were singing praises like they were Lady Gaga themselves. Well, as you guessed, the speech was harsh and slamming the govt and the Congress party for all their ills. This social champion had specially descended from heaven or flown down from United Nations to offer his expert observations on all that is ailing India. One newspaper, Free Press Journal, though didn’t seem to agree with the Barkhas, Sagarikas, Pallavis and Chaubejis:
Only a dimwit would be fooled about the real objective of the Jaipur Shivir. The entire charade was enacted to serenade the Congress’s not-so-young Prince. All else was peripheral to the exercise. Mani Shankar Aiyar, who otherwise makes much to-do about being a modern intellectual, did not see anything wrong in beseeching Rahul Gandhi to take his `rightful place’ at the head of the party.
Well, well, the speech that Rahul Gandhi gave could have come from any activist agitating at Jantar Mantar. Even Arvind Kejriwal could have given this speech. It seems all these years Rahul Gandhi was neither part of the Congress nor handling any issue related to the govt that he criticises. A man whose record of even the minor routine of attending parliament is dubious to say the least is now talking from a written script about what ails govt, our systems and the party. Shameless sycophants like Jairam Ramesh and Mani Shankar Aiyar then call his speech an “Obama moment”. Two people echoing the same statement is clearly a well thought out sound-bite for the media after the speech. Our local hero, who is mostly abroad, has nothing to show for his life except showing up once in a while here and there. The only other achievement in his life is probably being born in the Gandhi family.
The choreography was even better. He gives his speech like a college boy driven by idealism and Sheila Dikshit is moved enough to hug him and kiss Sonia Gandhi’s hand. There’s nothing wrong there. What exactly was the substance of the speech? Nothing really! The whole exercise of the so called Chintan Shivir was not to accept drawbacks, crimes and improve but glorify the Gandhis again and make the elevation of RahulG to VP some celestial event. Their spokie comes out and declares RahulG is now No.2 in the party. If the media and other Congress members really thought that called for a statement then I don’t think I can imagine bigger idiots on earth. When was the Gandhi less than No.2 or No.1 anyway? Like it or not Priyanka Vadra, (who becomes Gandhi when needed) is any day No.3 so maybe these guys will hold another ceremony for her someday.
Sure, the playing badminton with Indira Gandhi’s guards, deaths in the family provides an emotional touch and tear-jerking for some. But what was the context or relevance other than emotional appeal for his own party members? Weren’t they already slaves anyway? All the numbered quotes reflect on evils that have been brought about by none other than the Congress party itself. Let’s take it point-wise on his quotes:
1) He talks about people running systems behind closed doors. Has he ever looked at his own PM? MMS is a guy who even runs his press meetings behind closed doors. What kind of PM does that? RahulG himself is a pathetic hide and seek player who invited the press to a secret breakfast meet during the UP election campaign in March 2012. Who exactly is hiding behind closed doors?
2) If the SC handles lower courts issues it’s simply because unless the SC is moved the corrupt ministers in the Congress and UPA don’t seem to be prosecuted by natural law. Even today, most of the corrupt from the party are gleefully in top positions and free. Is it any surprise the speech could have been drafted for Anna Hazare?
3) Youth is angry? They’re out on streets? Well, where were you hiding when they were out during the Lokpal agitation? Where were you when they were agitating over the Delhi Gangrape incident? Where do you normally celebrate your birthdays while your faithful slaves cut the cake and feed it to your posters? Why are women suffering? What happened to Kalawati, probably the only woman you ever met and promised to solve her problems? Why are women molested and raped right under your own nose in Delhi? Any answers? You’re lucky that the 300 journalists you ferried to Jaipur and paid for their hotel and food aren’t going to ask you these questions. You’re lucky none of your sycophants are going to ask you these questions.
4) RTI battles corruption? Okay, let us know why your own travel information is not being revealed for years against RTI applications. Let us know why travel expense information of SoniaG is not being revealed under RTI. Who is going to answer for the strange and curious deals and funds over the National Herald that you and Sonia Gandhi are directly involved in? Will a lower court handle it or will it again take the Supreme Court?
5) People who are corrupt are talking about eradicating corruption? Which people? Did you take a closer look at some among those who applauded you or hugged you? This Congress-UPA govt has come to be known as the most corrupt govt ever in the history of Indian democracy. You or Sonia Gandhi are angels and have nothing to answer for? All this is “some other people”? Bravo!
That gentle touch of playing badminton or Mom coming into the room and crying is fine. Rediff reports that Priyanka Vadra parachuted into Jaipur and altered the script in the speech to accommodate these emotional lines. Really nice! If one were to ask some intelligent men and women in the Congress to speak the truth I have no doubts they will admit that Rahul Gandhi is no leader material but they have no choice but to use the Gandhi name for votes. Nothing less, nothing more! And this guy wants to develop others as leaders. This guy who has lived a life bloopers so far. Someone who calls voters “beggars” and even clarifies that it’s not metaphor. On the same day as this speech, Sushil Shinde made the most stupid speech about “Hindu terror”. At the heart of the Congress, such men who hate Hindus are the ministers. Chintan indeed! I’m not sure if Justice Katju is right in calling 90% Indians fools, but I’m damn sure the Congress definitely thinks so.
Lastly, “I woke up this morning in the night, it was dark outside and I found I was writing this post last night. It was an emotional moment”. If you’re a follower of Rahul Gandhi, that is not very hard to do.