Because, we could not (or we did not) hear him when his Congress party led UPA government, in collusion with other political parties, brought the amendment to the Right to Information (RTI) Act to kill the spirit of a landmark judgement by the Central Information Commission (CIC).
The decision by the CIC putting the political parties considerably funded by public money under the purview of the RTI Act treating them as public authorities was a historically important empowering step needed desperately to help cleanse the polluted Indian polity. But this history-making decision soon saw its nemesis and is under imminent threat now.
Within days of the CIC decision, the government under Manmohan Singh brought the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill 2013 to shield all and sundry of the political class by changing the definition of public authority to keep the political parties insulated from the RTI Act and so from the public scrutiny. After having its Parliament stint, the amendment bill is now with a standing committee of Parliament.
If the political parties claim to represent the people, and if the politicians need to go back to the people to continue to be in power, they need to be answerable to the people.
Will Rahul Gandhi mend for his mistake then and would push for the withdrawal of the RTI Act amendment bill now?
Because, Kalawati, the Rahul Gandhi metaphor, has been reduced to look and sound like a sorry figure. She symbolises the charade of life, of hope being a mere flicker and of unending run of despair. And there are countless Kalawatis like Rahul Gandhi’s Kalawati. This Kalawati metaphor has become like the countless failed assurances that, in turn, represent the millions of other Kalawatis, the Indians struggling somehow to manage their lives.
Kalawati and Rahul are inseparable because she, once, symbolised the raw energy of a young politician who was beginning his active career in politics, a politician who sent a message that he intended to be the politician with a difference, a politician who spoke his mind honestly.
Kalawati – Rahul Gandhi repeatedly tries to sound pro-people by using real life examples and anecdotes. But the ground reality of the real life metaphors that Rahul tries to convey and symbolise through his speeches fails the very intent like it happened in Kalawati’s case.
The ground reality of the metaphor Kalawati fails Rahul.
India is dotted with millions of Kalawatis – living in poverty, burdened, miserable, vulnerable.
And, the Kalawati Rahul Gandhi made the major theme of his 2008 Parliament speech could have evolved as the champion of the cause bringing qualitative changes to the lives of the millions of Kalawatis thus symbolising a young politician’s resolve to change the face of this ‘miserable’ India.
Yet, Kalawati remains, after five years, just one of the millions of Kalawatis – miserable and burdened. She still works as a contract labourer and finds it hard to feed the family of eight. Had Kalawati thought of this sort of immortalization?
Millions still languish. Thousands still die. There are many ‘Attapadis’, ‘Kalahandis’ and ‘Bidars’ in India and no one is ready to listen to their cries.
There are millions of Kalawatis looking for someone to come and help them win over the many deaths they live, day after day.
Assurances were always there. Promises will fly even higher with elections around the corner.
We need to wait to see if it is going to be different in future because we can say it is not going to be so this time.
But, there is more to reason why taking Rahul Gandhi’s voice of conscience as ‘a genuine voice of concern of an outsider politician’ needs much more than ‘public’ outburst of his anger on an ordinance to shield the convicted politicians from disqualification?
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/