Congress is trying to be smart, or perhaps unscrupulous. First Congress sidelined opposition and yielded to Anna who represents a part of India’s civil society in the face of a countrywide mass agitation. The opposition felt miserable but couldn’t do anything with civil society taking its space.
After agreeing to sit with members of civil society, it appeared pretty soon that those ministers were not very comfortable. With lot of bickering between the two parties seen on all the news channels and one boycott, India got two drafts of Lokpal Bill ready after nine sittings: one bill is that of five ministers of the government but not of the government, the other prepared by the representatives of civil society or of a section of that. Actually the members of civil society continued under a threat of being branded as uncooperative.
The government soon after the final meeting tried everything to demoralize and discredit the civil society including harassing the members of civil society through government investing agencies. Newspapers every day published something or other on Ramdev’s ill-gotten wealth. It was more than meanness. Even person such as Pranab Mukherji used bad words about the leaders of civil society. Kapil Sibal went on his mission to downgrade the civil society through articles in national dailies.
Now Congress wanted to make it something between political parties vs. civil society. Congress thought that will bring the affected class of politicians together
Surprisingly, the government after a meeting with its alliance partners has not prepared its own final draft that can be discussed with the opposition parties. It wants to place the two drafts to them and seek their views. This is to create a gap between the civil society and the opposition parties. With confusing statements from the Prime Minister who offers to include his office to be included but for the opposition of his cabinet colleagues, the government remains indecisive. The law minister and Mr. Kapil Sibal have kept on giving messy statement.
The opposition must insist on presenting a government bill in the all party meeting for discussion rather than discussing the two drafts.
It is unfortunate that the government is trying to blame civil society for all the mess it has created, whereas it would have come clean if it really wishes to have a strong and effective Lokpal to curb the cancerous growth of corruption from the system..