RASHTRIYA Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) Sarsanghachalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat hit the nail on its head when he recently questioned the Constitutional validity of the National Advisory Council (NAC). He asked, “If Ramdev and Hazare are outsiders, under which clause of the Constitution has the NAC been constituted?”
The issue becomes extremely relevant with central ministers and Congress leaders expressing doubts over the legitimacy and representativeness of social activists Anna Hazare and yoga guru Baba Ramdev. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee lashed out at civil activists and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allegedly trying to gather political capital from the anti-corruption movement. “The Constitution has given the power to legislate only to Parliament and the state Assemblies. If 5,000 or 6,000 people dictate from outside what Parliament ought to do, this will weaken democracy,” he said.
How can a few thousand people ‘dictate’ the legislature? Even in his most intemperate remarks, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh did not mention any armed movement at Jantar Mantar and Ramlila Maidan. They were all peace-loving people who wanted to goad the Central Government to act against graft. One may agree or disagree with their demands; the views expressed by Hazare, Ramdev and others may be seen as impractical and sentimental. But by no stretch of imagination can the protestors be accused of dictating or coercing Parliament.
The supporters of Hazare and Ramdev—like the partisans of any cause—have every right to register their protest in a peaceful manner. Don’t we have student unions, trade unions, industry associations, business chambers, resident welfare associations, media bodies and other organisations representing various groups and interests? Don’t they plead with the Government and protest against it when needed? Don’t we have interest groups and pressure groups? It is, after, the totality of such organisations that comprise civil society. So, what is the Finance Minister complaining about?
Further, he should get his facts right. The people supporting Hazare and Ramdev are not in a few thousands but in millions—and from all walks of life. And they are supporting the anti-corruption movement out of love for their country; they are not pushing any agenda or ideology.
The NAC, on the other hand, is a body comprising mostly Leftists who are eager to sneak their discredited ideology back into polity and economy. They represent the most quixotic non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and champion the most retrograde causes. And they have a most pronounced bias against industry, development, commonsense, reason, the BJP, and the RSS. Which is not surprising, for the NAC is headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Consider the case of the NAC member and former bureaucrat Harsh Mander. On February 24 this year, The Indian Express carried a report, revealing that his NGO, Aman Biradari, runs an orphanage, Rainbow Home—Aman Vedika, in Orissa. The home manager of the orphanage was Sirishakka, also known as A Padma. She is the wife of top Maoist leader Akkiraju Haragopal alias Ramakrishna.
Typically, Mander claimed that he and his group were not aware of Padma’s identify when she came looking for a job in October 2008. The Maoists had abducted a District Collector in the state and sought release of their comrades, including Padma.
This is not an isolated incident underlining the proximity of the former bureaucrat with Red terrorists. As a Special Commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court, he submitted a report in which he talked of an “undeclared civil war” in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh and the vicious trap of “unending cycles of often brutal violence, unleashed consecutively by Maoists, security forces and vigilante armed civilian groups such as the Salwa Judum, and its incarnations by other names.”
Notice the egregious moral equivalence Mander resorts to; he equates the bloodthirsty Maoists with security forces, and presents both as brutal. In his scheme of things, there is no difference between an arsonist and a firefighter, between a psychopathic murderer and a brave soldier, between a rapist and a law-enforcer. This is the world of moral ambiguities, the world of the Indian intellectual, the world of Mander, an unabashed Naxal sympathiser.
The NAC represents such intellectuals and presents perverted worldview. They have not been elected, or even selected by some sort of collegium. They have been chosen by She-who-must-be-obeyed.
It is in this context that Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari’s statements need to be seen. He has dubbed the Hazare group as being “unelectable” and tyrannical. He said, “If this democracy faces its greatest peril from someone, it is from the tyranny of the unelected and the unelectable.”
The Hazares and the Ramdevs may not have been elected, but they surely have wide support of the people. The NAC, however, is nothing but a coterie of Sonia Gandhi’s cronies.