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/


Because, the Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013, brought by the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) government led by the Congress is very much alive and kicking.

Rajya Sabha has already passed it. Disruptions didn’t allow it in the Loksabha in the Monsoon Session but it is slated to be presented and passed in the lower House of the Indian Parliament in the Winter Session.

Where was Rahul Gandhi when all this was happening?

The ordinance cleared by the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Manmohan Singh, which Sonia Gandhi was also a part of, is nothing but yet another attempt of political brazenness to subvert the guiding principles of democracy by planting the provisions of the RP Act Amendment Bill ‘immediately’, that would otherwise be in place by December, to save some big political names from immediate disqualification.

….everybody does this….but would Rahul Gandhi stop this nonsense, the RP Act Amendment Bill that, in essence, is the inspiration behind this silly ordinance, in the Winter Session of Parliament?

We need to wait till then before making any opinion.

Because, Rahul Gandhi says the political parties should stop making small compromises!

But what about big compromises?

Should the political outfits continue singing the ‘compromise’ (say the coalition ‘Dharma’) tune when it comes to some big compromise like the crucial number games of forming the government even if it means taking support of some historysheeter member of Parliament or someone like Suresh Kalmadi.

What is this small or big segregation?

Does it mean ‘not shielding the convicted politicians by not manipulating the lawmaking authority given by the Constitution’ is a small compromise while subverting every administrative, legal and moral norm to save someone like Robert Vadra, whose only connect to the fame is that he is son-in-law of the Nehru-Gandhi Family, is a big compromise and so is to go for?

Ethics cannot be compartmentalized as ‘small’ or ‘big’.

Rahul’s sudden outburst, that many would have thought be a masterstroke of positioning him again as an outsider, as the politician with a difference (that he sounded so when he had begun), falls flat by the record of his active years in politics.

There are plenty of other reasons to reason why taking Rahul Gandhi’s voice of conscience as ‘a genuine voice of concern of an outsider politician’ needs much more than this ‘public’ outburst of his anger?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/


September 2013

July this year, in two landmark judgments, the Supreme Court had ruled that jailed persons could not contest elections and a convicted politician was to be immediately disqualified. It sent shockwaves in the political fraternity, for future of many politicians, many big names including existing members of legislative bodies, was in imminent danger. But they had a clear ray of hope, a certain way out of the abyss, in their political brethrens.

In August, the Rajya Sabha, the upper House of the Indian Parliament, unanimously passed a proposed amendment in the Representation of the People Act 1951 (RP) to negate a landmark Supreme Court order that could have brought fundamental (and desperately required) improvements in the conduct of the political class. But, somehow, the amendment act could not be passed in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament due to the sustained ‘political’ pandemonium, over this or that issue.

It had to come down to the Lok Sabha. It was supposed to be discussed by the enlightened wisdom of the political parties on the floor of the Lok Sabha. That was, once again, supposed to be a decorative sham, as it was their collective wisdom only that had it passed unanimously in the Rajya Sabha. Even the political furor over the ordinance route now is nothing more than a sham. Had it not been the case, the amendment bill could not have passed the Rajya Sabha hurdle.

The Winter Session of the Parliament (coming November-December) was supposed to be the time for the final execution in this episode of subversion of democratic values in India’s democratic evolution.

But, suddenly, within three weeks of the Monsoon session of the Parliament, the Congress led UPA government yesterday cleared an ordinance to shield the convicted of the political lot.

And it should not be surprising at all. What is surprising is it could not be passed in the Monsoon Session after all the political bonhomie. After all, all politicians are similar under the skin they had shown once again by ensuring the unanimous passage of the amendment act in the Rajya Sabha.

But its timing worries like most of the acts of the Indian political theatre. It is ominous for the democratic spirit of the country. The ‘fact’, that it was not unexpected or it is not surprising, makes its even more menacing.

Reports say the decision in a Fodder Scam case where Lalu Yadav is an accused is just one week away. Only last week, a court convicted Congress Rajya Sabha MP Rashid Masood in a corruption and sentencing is due.

Whether reasons like these played any role pushing the UPA government to bring an ordinance so early may be debatable but the intent is always clear – it was to undermine the guiding spirit of the Indian Constitution envisioned by its framers.

And if it is timed to work for reasons as reported, it shows how irresponsible the existing political class has become to the democratic values.

This frequent audacity, the recurrent brazenness of the political class to change or co-opt anything that is coming in its way is threatening the democratic structure of social weaving in the country.

The practice was always there but it has grown at a deafening pace in recent times. The ordinance to shield the convicted politicians is just yet another democratic casualty.

*“Why India is in imminent danger of disintegration?’ is a regular column on my blogging platforms to take a periodic look (say a weekly or a fortnightly or a monthly round-up of events depending on the factors in play) on political developments that are dangerous to the democratic health of the country and contribute to the process of social disintegration of the nation..”

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/