Excuses won't do

Excuses won't do

As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh believes that discretion is the better part of valour and hardly opens his mouth and Congress president Sonia Gandhi prefers to maintain her Sphinx-like silence in the wake of raging controversies, we have to assume that ‘de facto’ prime minister Pranab Mukherjee has the mandate to articulate the ‘mind’ of the Congress-led UPA government. Speaking in Kolkata on Sunday, Mukherjee lambasted civil society leaders like Anna Hazare for “dictating from outside what the parliament ought to do” and accused the BJP and RSS of trying to ‘settle scores’ with the government.

Mukherjee threatened that his party would launch an awareness campaign throughout the country on alleged attempts to subvert the Constitution and derail democracy.
Mukherjee has been in government and politics long enough to understand the current mood of the nation. As a trusted political troubleshooter of Sonia Gandhi for over 12 years, he knows the ‘madam’s’ thinking on how she perceives the prevailing situation.

Hence, it is clear from Pranabda’s tirade and the non-stop hectoring from a loose cannon called Digvijay Singh that the Congress party considers the demand for the institution of Lokpal and unearthing of black money as a challenge to its authority to rule the country. Mukherjee has taken strong exception to Hazare setting a deadline of August 15 for the enactment of Lokpal Bill. He asserted that it was for Parliament to decide on the timeframe for enacting the legislation, though he said the government would table the bill in the coming monsoon session. Mukherjee has postulated that pressure from outside would weaken democracy.

 Mukherjee and his ilk ought to know that the people of this country have been waiting patiently for 37 years for Lokpal to come into being and the recent mega scams of the UPA government have convinced them that there cannot be any more delay in setting up an anti-corruption ombudsman at the national level. If Anna Hazare suggested a date by which Lokpal should be enacted, it should not be seen as ‘dictating’ terms to parliamentarians. He was merely articulating the wish of millions of Indians. By arguing that parliamentarians cannot be told when and what to do, Mukherjee is betraying the arrogance and dictatorial streak that our elected representatives suffer from. That is the real danger to democracy. Instead of indulging in a vilification campaign against all and sundry, the government would do well to come out with its action plan to deal with the all pervasive corruption.

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