Anna Hazare: NGOs for governance? – Sandhya Jain

Sandhya JainAnna Hazare, NAC cronies, Rockefeller Foundation-funded Magsaysay Award winners, and other usual suspects, have ganged up against the besieged prime minister. Concerned citizens and analysts have a duty to ask whether the government of a Republic that derives its power from the people should cave in to blackmail by well-heeled and well-connected NGOs, and accept a legislation drafted by them? If laws are to be adopted and enacted in this manner, do we need either government or Parliament? – Sandhya Jain

Anna Hazare & Swami AgniveshIn the wake of an orchestrated frenzy to achieve a particular legal structure against official corruption, it is pertinent to ask all political parties if they are willing to abolish Parliament and representative government, and entrust power to a coterie of NGOs with overt and covert Western support.

Anna Hazare’s gigantic exercise to delegitimise the elected UPA and elected Members of Parliament, and insist that a self-appointed group of moral guardians shall determine the contours of a proposed national legislation to tackle corruption in government, is an assault on the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Unelected crusaders with agendas derived from unknown sources; and ample funds to whip up moderate street participation; can at best be regarded as a pressure group with a right to be heard.

Anna Hazare’s so-called fast-unto-death is questionable for its anti-democratic disdain for elected government and people’s representatives. The timing is equally suspect – right after the adjournment of Parliament after passing the Union Budget. It may be recalled that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was forced to gift Rs. 40,000/- crores to the leaky MREGA project favoured by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her unelected friends in the National Advisory Council; his attempts to curtail this hole in the exchequer enraged her.

As if on cue, Hazare, NAC cronies, Rockefeller Foundation-funded Magsaysay Award winners, and other usual suspects, ganged up against the besieged prime minister. Concerned citizens and analysts have a duty to ask whether the government of a Republic that derives its power from the people should – in the months preceding the monsoon session of Parliament – cave in to blackmail by well-heeled and well-connected NGOs, and accept a legislation drafted by them? If laws are to be adopted and enacted in this manner, do we need either government or Parliament?

We may as well formally declare India a ‘Mandate’ of the United States. After all, the NAC that rules the government is chaired by ‘Indo-US nuclear deal is close to my heart’ Sonia Gandhi, and includes French national Jean Dreze, besides ex-IAS officer Harsh Mander, who became internationally famous by maligning the nation in the wake of the post-Godhra riots.

Medha PatkarBy an interesting coincidence, the attack of the NGO Armada coincides with the Supreme Court’s smashing the moral credentials of Medha Patkar and her Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), for filing a false affidavit in the matter of the Omkareshwar Dam project. A Bench of Justices JM Panchal, Deepak Verma and BS Chauhan – annoyed at the NGO’s false claim that the State of Madhya Pradesh had wrongfully acquired 284 hectares of land from Indore farmers – asked it to explain “why it should not be restricted from filing any case/petition before any court throughout the country”. Why indeed.

More pertinently, State Government counsel informed the Court that Patkar’s NGO is not a registered society and is thus not even entitled to represent the oustees! Surely that sums it up – NGOs are only a ‘lobby’; they are not equal to, much less above, elected representatives of the people. Yet the fact that Patkar’s Narmada Bachao Andolan could exist and enjoy high-profile for 30 long years without complying with any legal formalities, proves that such NGOs are intricately networked with the Congress-dominated political and bureaucratic hierarchy, despite pretensions of ‘dissent’ and leadership of the ‘voiceless’. There can be no doubt that they have a hidden agenda.

Now that the Supreme Court has taken cognizance of the dubious credentials of this NGO, it must direct the State Government to investigate the sources of its funding, and possible agenda.

N. Santosh Hegde

Justice Hegde has indirectly admitted that there are differences of opinion regarding various clauses of the Bill even among the activists who drafted it. This suggests that the NAC may moot new clauses that could divide the activists further. With the private Bill thus likely to be subjected to further changes by the NAC, Hazare’s fast makes little sense to even some of his colleagues. It would seem that its purpose is to coerce Dr Manmohan Singh to commit to whatever Sonia Gandhi dishes out in the name of the NAC, despite institutional reservations from government. This is extra-constitutionalism at its zenith – strange that the opposition BJP should be so blind to it.

Certainly there is something inexplicable in Hazare’s haste – “It’s a fight to the finish for citizen’s rights”. Why? What is the hidden target he is hurtling towards; why is it secret from the rest of us?

Readers who may regard this critique as harsh should consider that Anna Hazare wants a joint committee comprising government and civil society leaders [read individuals and NGOs favoured by him and his friends] to rework the current draft Lokpal Bill. I am refraining, in this article, from going into the merits of his critique of the Government Draft [I stipulate there will be much merit in it]; in fact, I am not going into the text of his draft at all, nor comparing it with the impugned Government draft.

My point is that he is instigating the middle class intelligentsia that comes to hear him at Jantar Mantar – and neither he nor any of his allies is a grassroots mass leader – to despise and distrust politicians and bureaucrats as a class when these are the constitutional pillars of State. In their place, Hazare moots an unelected oligarchy. This does not bode well for the nation or the society.

While he is within his rights to fiercely criticise the Government draft Lokpal Bill, it is utterly unworthy to say that, “If the government alone drafts the anti-corruption bill, it will be autocratic not democratic, there will be discrepancies.” Here it may be pertinent to note that while Hazare’s charmed inner circle includes some high-profile lawyers who have made a mark in the battle against corruption in high places, he has placed NO FAITH in the Judiciary as an institution in rectifying anomalies in the law and its application, and in bringing culprits to justice. This is a strange kind of crusade.

A. RajaA major plank to justify the hunger strike is the string of scams that have hit the UPA-II, most notably the 2G Spectrum Scam and the scandals associated with the Commonwealth Games.

Yet the 2G Spectrum Scam probe is being closely supervised by the Supreme Court and the principal accused are already in jail – without help from Hazare or his associates.

On the Commonwealth Games – Hazare & Co. are conspicuous by their silence on the Report of the V.K. Shunglu Committee which has nailed Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Lt. Governor Tejinder Khanna, and the Central Ministries associated with the Games for all the sins of omission and commission. The shameless manner in which Mrs Dikshit has sought to ridicule the Shunglu Committee, her meeting to garner the support of Ms Sonia Gandhi, the failure of Sonia Gandhi and Congress to move against Dikshit, all speak eloquently about who shields corruption in the UPA.

I would have had faith in the Anna Hazare fast if he had made action on the Shunglu Committee the pivot of his crusade and fast in Delhi, and not made the personally honest Prime Minister the target of his rage. The fact that this very live issue of high level corruption in the capital – which still reverberates in world capitals – did not even occur to him or his associates should be evidence enough of an unspoken agenda and an illegitimate target. It reminds one of Sherlock Holmes’ quintessential query – but why didn’t the dog bark?

In conclusion, I must say I cannot agree with the main object of Anna Hazare’s fast –to elevate a select coterie as national super cop and super judge, as a national daily put it so aptly.

I robustly condemn the idea that Magsaysay Award-winning Indians should figure in the Lokpal selection panel. This stinks of an American hand. Without casting aspersions on any individual, it bears stating that the Magsaysay Award is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, though it is named after late Philippine leader Ramon Magsaysay.

RF logoAs the Rockefeller family has vast business interests all over the globe and doubtless also in India, we shall never know what kind of private networking could take place in government and bureaucracy via its favoured persons, to further Rockefeller interests. Recently we saw US insurance corporate-cum-philanthropist Warren Buffet visiting India and Government pushing to raise FDI in insurance from 26% to 51%! Bill and Melinda Gates were also here – peddling vaccines of unknown quality and of course the detestable GM seeds.

India’s high profile elites derive status from the international NGO cocktail circuit. Their insatiable quest for funds and glory makes them adopt ideas and concepts without examining their validity in an Indian context. As they are very conscious of their elite status, they have unacceptable contempt for the people and their elected representatives. We cannot endorse these non-accountable and glittering Western satellites.

» Sandhya Jain is an author and political commentator. She edits the opinion forum Vijayvaani.

 

6 Responses

  1. The movement of Anna hazare against the corruption is become a landmark and gives the challenge to political parties that if you are not succeed then public will take a lead to resolve all issues, this whole movement has given complete unrest to all political leaders and realized that Anna is doing the same work which should taken up by us. we salute to Anna and team for their all efforts to make this movement success

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  2. @Abhijeet : Sir,if you have to debate,do so by means of logic and evidence,and not like an imbecile.Definitely,corruption is a problem we need to face,but Anna Hazare is a far greater one.He is in no way the solution to our problems,but he sure wants to aggravate it.Remember,imposition of order equals escalation of chaos.We can never trust a select few elites with the power that is to be vested upon the members of lokpal selection committee.The risks are too huge,and this is not a chess game we are playing.Secondly,Anna Hazare is not the voice of India,but of a select few.His opinion does not reflect that of the majority.And yes,what was ANNA HAZARE doing when problems(which still persists,and will continue till the likes ANNA HAZARE keep existing) like farmer suicides,starvatation etc was going on.Here,it is obvious that it is a struggle for absolute authority and power,which was not possible in other cases(even obvious to a kindergarten kid). Although I do not support the government ,I can’t really say that I support Anna Hazare either,for he is more viler than the government,he is a megalomaniac.

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  3. While I agree with the spirit of your article, I find that you have mixed up issues.

    1.NAC is a advisory body. Its decision are not binding on the government. If you have a problem with NAC, you should also have a problem with the appointment of unelected economic advisers like Kaushik Basu.
    Th NAC consists of two world renouned economists-Jean Dreze and Shiva Kumar, two world renouned scientists-madhav gadgil and MS Swainathan and an industrialist-Anu Agha. It is not a motley crowd of NGO people. The job of the NAC is to aid the parliament in making decision. It does not substitute the Parliament in anyway. Anna Hazare on the other hand is demanding a Lokpal packed with activists who will not be accountable to anybody but will have tremendous power. It even wants elected representatives under its purview. Such demand strikes at the root of democracy.

    Few factual inaccuracies: 1. Dreze is an Indian citizen. He is a Belgian by Birth. He was never a French Citizen.

    2. Sonia Gandhi who favoured MNREGA is a elected member of parliament and the unchallenged leader of the single largest party in the parliament. Manmohan Singh , on the other hand, is not a member of the Loksabha.

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  4. Sandhya Jain, I think you have a point.

    The Government has made a mistake succumbing to Anna Hazare’s bullying tactics. Anna Hazare is a lobbyist with a lot of dubious friends and financial support.

    However valid his fight against corruption, he is not the competent constitutional authority to formulate laws and decide who sits on government committees. We have duly elected representatives to do that work. If they are found to be corrupt or incompetent, there are official procedures to deal with them.

    Ultimately we the electorate are responsible for putting known criminals in power. Now we are paying the price for it. But a dictatorship of NGOs is entirely unacceptable and against all democratic principles.

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  5. Sandhya Jain, you need to revise the basics of democracy and legislation in India. Anna Hazare’s movement has not sidelined the government or parliament. It has strengthened it.. I do not know why you ask whether India still needs a Parliament, but I definitely know India does not need paid imbeciles (look up the meaning in a dictionary) and paid puppet writers like you.

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