Sonia Gandhi finally broke her silence on Anna Hazare. She defended the draft put forth by her partymen – and asked Anna to do the same. Anyone who has been following this movement knows that the current draft leaves out a key piece of legislation. In fact, the left out piece is so key – that it would be like leaving out the engine from a new car. You might be tempted by the clean, shiny exterior and leather seats – but the minute you try to start the car, it will prove to be a non-starter. The same holds true for the draft put forth by Sonia’s Congress (which leaves the investigation agency out of the LokPal and under the ruling party).
Up till now, Sonia Gandhi had maintained a distant silence. Her silence at least gave her the benefit of doubt. The hope that perhaps, somewhere in her mind, she saw the Hazare movement as a genuine attempt to tackle corruption. That benefit of doubt can no longer be extended to Mrs. Gandhi. She has come out with blazing guns – just like her son Rahul did a few weeks ago. Perhaps she forgets that the Hazare movement effectively ruined her son’s image – and has perhaps jeopardized his chances of ever becoming P.M. The lesson to be learnt here was that it wasn’t Anna versus Rahul. It was corruption crusaders versus opponents of the crusade. And the crusaders were not limited to Anna Hazare and his supporters. It included, in large part, all of India’s population – a unification feat that is not easy to replicate in a country as diverse as India. So – when Rahul came out in opposition to Anna Hazare, he came out in opposition to the Indian populace. He went instantly from ‘future PM’ to ‘just another politician’.
One would hope that Senior Congress leaders would have learnt their lesson from this fall of the mighty. Unfortunately, Sonia Gandhi is also treading the same swamp waters as her son. Her attack on Anna – no matter how compartmentalized it may be – will seem as an attack on Indians all over the world. She will witness the same fall from grace as her son. Not because she tried to tackle Anna – but because she failed to recognize the strength of his movement. Because she tried to fool the Indian people with a watered down draft that even a 6 year old could see through.
Tragically, the only reason that Sonia could possibly be opposed to leaving the CBI out of the LokPal is the same reason as any other politician’s. To avoid going to jail! They know that giving this independent power to the CBI will result in some ‘big fish’ landing behind bars. In fact, without this power, the Lokpal bill is meaningless. Sonia realizes this as well as any other party member – and wants to dilute it. This dilution effort is as good as a confession of guilt. Sonia has broken her silence – and with it her innocence.