AS is the Congress party’s wont, it brought into play dirty tricks to nail globally famous yoga guru and a committed crusader against corruption saintly Baba Ramdev and his close aide Acharya Balkrishna. Congress-led Government used its trusted allies – CBI and Enforcement Directorate – to punish the duo for vigorously carrying forward a mass campaign to bring back black money stacked in foreign lands by corrupt politicians, civil servants and business tycoons.
ED bent rules to proceed against Balakrishna who heads 34 companies associated with the yoga guru under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). An enforcement case information report (ECIR) registered about a month ago accused Balakrishna of laundering “crime generated” money on the strength of the passport he allegedly obtained “illegally”. The hasty action on flimsy grounds raised many an eyebrow in the Directorate. Senior officers are reported to have observed that no actionable evidence against yoga guru’s aide was collected before registering the report. Details provided by the Directorate don’t back up the charge of money laundering as whatever is mentioned in the appropriate column is limited to the allegation that he obtained passport on the basis of a “fake” date of birth certificate.
Even this charge is yet to be proved by CBI that got into action on the passport case after the Baba and his supporters were hounded out of Ramlila Maidan on that fateful midnight by Delhi police. The Supreme Court took suo-moto notice of the outrage and passed stricture against the police. Intriguingly, donations sent by Baba’s overseas devotees were treated by ED as “proceeds of crime” without an iota of evidence to that effect. Baba Ramdev remains unperturbed. In his speeches at congregations in different parts of the country, Baba challenges the Government to prove the charges and calls upon the people to throw out the thoroughly corrupt Congress Government. He can carry forward his movement single handedly because of his proven mass base, well-knit Bharat Swabhiman with lakhs of devoted followers in most districts of the country willing to do what he asks them to. They may not appreciate the intricacies of the case he builds by dishing out mind-boggling numbers about black money but they seem to have unflinching faith in his integrity and commitment to mother India and its glory.
Initially, Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption massive response largely because of his credible track record of fighting corruption without political bias. Another factor that fuelled the movement was the relevance of the issues he raised. Government’s mishandling of his movement by arresting Anna angered people who came out on streets in large numbers in his support. However, India Against Corruption got exposed as what it was – a motley group of crusaders against corruption, highly ambitious upstarts and Maoist-leftist gang papering their sharp differences under the benign leadership of Hazare. It gradually lost popularity as reports about sharp differences, “betrayals” by leaders like Agnivesh and personal feuds made way to media. Going on fast every now and then also cost the movement dearly and there was little public support during the fasts undertaken by the Maoist-leftist gang. The latter lost nerve over Government’s insensitivity and refusal to engage them in negotiations broke their fasts after “managing” a joint appeal by several eminent citizens.
Veteran journalist Kuldeep Nayar recently disclosed in a TV show that they had sent frantic requests to us (signatories to the appeal) to save their lives by issuing an appeal. Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement about the team taking the electoral route hugely embarrassed Anna as he was firmly against entering electoral politics from day one. He is a simple man but knows his limitations and constraints of the electoral politics. He has no political ambitions and was fighting for a systemic change for a clean public life. A large number of committed members of the dissolved team, Justice Santosh Hegde and Kiran Bedi to name only a few, are in agreement with Anna and are now in the process of reviving the movement.
Kejriwal and his group were stunned by Anna’s dissolution of the team and his unequivocal announcement that he had nothing to do with the proposed political outfit. With the “soul” of the movement having left them, the Delhi group – barring Kiran Bedi who also opposed to launching a political party – is unsure of its future. Every citizen or group in this democratic country has the right to launch a party and contest elections. The group is under attack from many for betraying team Anna’s mission. People from all walks of life supported the team for a social cause – fighting corruption – not to help them realise their political ambitions. No one, barring handful cronies and some politically ambitious persons, is impressed by their visionless political outfit. They continue to exploit Anna’s name on one pretext or the other – “He is in our heart”, “He will soon join us” – to gain vanishing acceptability. They know fully well that their support base is thin and credibility almost nil. Let them take the people into confidence on their ideology, policies and programmes. One of their top leaders speaks for the separatists in J&K. Another defends terrorists. Some of them are leftists, some pro-Maoists and most unknown entities. Please come clean. Fighting corruption is a major issue, yet it can’t be the only agenda of a political party. Do you think all of you are washed in wool totally incorruptible persons who would not be guilty of any unethical conduct after jumping into electoral politics, a field notorious for making compromises? This precisely is the issue Anna raised while disassociating with this gang.
Recent in-camera meeting between Hazare and Ramdev indicates they are trying to build a consensus to join hands to steer the movement against corruption and in support of the demand to bring back black money that can transform country’s economy. Both are against entering electoral politics though at one point of time Ramdev had toyed with the idea of launching a political outfit, he eventually abandoned the idea on sound advice from friends and well wishers. A movement jointly led by Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare would get instant mass support because of their credibility and track record of self-less service to the society. In the event of such a movement gathering momentum in coming months and years, it may have disastrous electoral consequences for the ruling alliance.