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Weak Lokpal: Et tu, Kejriwal?

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A day after AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh sounded out anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill 2015 tabled by their government, former party leader Prashant Bhushan on Friday met the social activist in Ralegan Siddhi to explain main flaws in the bill.

Bhushan claims the lacunas in the AAP’s Lokpal bill make it pretty weak as compared to the original draft of the bill from 2014 which the party had failed to table by virtue of the alleged opposition by the BJP and Congress.

The Delhi cabinet on Thursday cleared two amendments to the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015 after Kejriwal assured Hazare to implement his suggestions in the bill.

One amendment proposes a seven-member panel to select two members and chairperson in the institution of Jan Lokpal. Now, the proposed new members will include another judge from the high court, any eminent personality selected by the rest of the committee members and the Lokpal chairman from the next term.

As for removal of Lokpal, there would be a high court inquiry first before referring the matter to the assembly, two-thirds of the Delhi assembly can vote to remove the ombudsman.

ALSO READ: Five reasons why AAP Lokpal is Mahajokepal

However, seeking the reinstatement of the original draft of the 2014 bill, Bhushan explained to Hazare the major flaws in the ombudsman that includes the clause which allows the Delhi Lokpal the power to investigate charges of corruption against central government employees. This, he believes, could lead to an unnecessary impasse.

Bhushan alleged that this provision has been introduced with malafide intentions to ensure that the central government does not approve and the bill never gets passed. The AAP will then claim that it tried to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill, but the central government obstructed it.

Furthermore, Bhushan has alleged no investigative machinery has been given to or placed under Delhi Lokpal as per section 10 in the proposed bill. Without its own independent officers, solely recruited for and dedicated to the institution, the Lokpal would merely be like the various other commissions and tribunals.

He has also claimed that the AAP government wanted the appointment of the Lokpal to be controlled by the political class and would not let any appointment be made without the approval of ruling party as the selection committee for the Lokpal would consist of High Court Chief Justice, the Chief Minister, Assembly Speaker and Leader of Opposition.

Hazare has assured Bhushan to look into the matter. Needless to say, considering the flaws pointed out by Bhushan, who was expelled from the party along with Yogendra Yadav, the Lokpal introduced by the Delhi government comes across as pretty weak and a watered down version of the 2014 Lokpal.

The Delhi government, with 67 MLAs out of total 70 in the state Assembly, was expected to bring a strong anti-corruption ombudsman, but one fails to understand why, despite the overwhelming majority, Kejriwal has tried to compromise on the effectiveness of the Lokpal.

Is it the case that now when Kejriwal and his supporters have found their way to the corridors of powers, they have realized that in order to survive in the system corruption is a necessity? Is he in a way trying to aid corruption by introducing an apparently weak Lokpal?

It is a pity that a party that came into existence on the plank of an anti-corruption movement is apparently being soft on the issue of graft. It is an injustice to the lakhs of volunteers and supporters of the AAP who saw a ray of hope in the fledgling party and sacrificed their time and money to build it from the scratch.

Kejriwal must answer these tough questions that make AAP look like a mirror image of other political parties. What is it that differentiates AAP from others?

Tum toh un jaise nikle (Alas, you also turned out like others).

(Image: Indian Express)

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An insight into the biggest political parties of India

The next state polls of 2018 will be an acid test for Rahul Gandhi to prove his mettle as a leader

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The recent clash of BJP and Congress have re-balanced the political scenario of India. Wikimedia Commons
The recent clash of BJP and Congress have re-balanced the political scenario of India. Wikimedia Commons

NEW DELHI: Indian being a political democratic country, houses a lot of political parties. Since independence, many new parties have emerged to take up the fight for various sections of the society. One of the examples of such a party is AAP (Aam Admi Party). AAP came up with strong political ethics to root out issues faced by a commons man but now the very existence of this party is in question due to poor performance and incompetence of some of its top leaders. But the most prominent of all of the political parties in India are BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party) and the Indian National Congress.

BJP encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. Wikimedia Commons
BJP encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. Wikimedia Commons

In 1980, BJP surfaced from a former party known as Bharatiya Jana Sangh which was founded by Syama Prasad Mookerjee. BJP’s agenda during the 1980s focused on the ‘Ram Janambhoomi movement’. The party encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. This issue gave the Hindu colour denomination to BJP and in 1996; it emerged as the largest party in the parliament. After being kept away from the power for long, Narendra Modi led the BJP to unprecedented heights in the last elections and the competition was put up by him was unmatchable.

On the other hand, Congress is a more matured political party of India. It got established in the year 1885. After the independence, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Nehru was the front face of the political governance in India but after his assassination, his daughter Indira Gandhi took the charge and became the prime minister in 1966. Unfortunately, Indira Gandhi also got assassinated and her son, Rajiv Gandhi took up the reigns of the party. In the sequence of assassination, Rajiv Gandhi was the next target. Sonia Gandhi came to power in 1998 and she led the party from the front in 2004 elections. This resulted in the political rule of Congress under Manmohan Singh.

After the independence, Congress head Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Wikimedia Commons
After the independence, Congress head Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Wikimedia Commons

The recent Assembly election of Gujarat was a real eye-opener for many, as the people’s right to vote was seen quite considerably y exercised. The Congress resistance in the very own fortress of Narendra Modi was a heavy blow to the Modi wave that swept the country. Although, BJP had the last laugh in the election results but the close fight Syama Prasad Mookerjee from the Congress side was appreciable. The new trend seems to be rebalancing the political scenario in India. The tussle between the BJP and Congress will definitely go down in the history of Indian politics.

Nowadays, Twitter is another playground for political parties. The rule of social media platforms has pushed Indian leaders to communicate in the same manner. It’s vividly seen that people take up to twitter to express their views and differences. Rahul Gandhi vetted his displeasure over the performance of BJP in the latest series of attacks by Rahul against Prime Minister Modi.

Last month only, Rahul Gandhi was crowned as the party head. Therefore, the state polls of 2018 will be an acid test for Rahul to prove his mettle as a leader. It will be interesting to see the new strategies that will be deployed by Congress to take an edge over their arch rivals, BJP.