Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
By Neha Sen
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the inclusion of both Government representatives and civil society members in the Lokpal Bill Joint Drafting Committee as “a step that augurs well for society”. However, disagreements between the two groups has jeopardized the future of the Lokpal Bill. Ironically, one of the contentious issues is the suggestion to bring the PM’s office under the ambit of the Lokpal.
Describing the May 30 meeting as a “complete disaster”, committee member and activist Arvind Kejriwal reiterated that civil society members will walk out if there is no “forward movement”. The two sides sparred on several issues, including the suggestion to bring the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), judiciary and officials below rank of joint secretary under the Lokpal’s ambit. The Anna Hazare team also wants the Lokpal to have powers to look into the conduct of MPs in Parliament.
Even though it seems that the Government is willing to risk a split in the Joint Drafting Committee, it is leaving no stone unturned to stop Yoga guru Baba Ramdev from going on a hunger strike from 4th June on the issue of black money. The Government has been regularly briefing Ramdev on the measures adopted by it to bring back money stashed abroad. However, the yoga guru plans to continue with his “satyagraha” against corruption and black money. Baba Ramdev, though, is on the side of the Government on the issue of exclusion of the PMO and CJI from the Lokpal’s ambit.
Meanwhile, the Centre has sought the views of the political parties and states on the structure of the proposed Lokpal Bill.
So mark June 4 and June 6 in the calendar. Will the Government have to deal with another mass movement against corruption when Baba Ramdev goes on a hunger strike on 4th June? Or will the Centre be able to stop the yoga guru from going on the hunger strike? And will there be any “forward movement” when the Joint Drafting Committee meets on June 6?