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Millennium Post

It’s time to bring them all to book

If the task of making people pay for their past sins amounts to political witch-hunting, then perhaps the Aam Aadmi Party wouldn’t be left with any choice but to launch an inquisition against a number of members of both the Congress and the BJP. Naturally, the UPA government, which saw the Lokpal Bill being passed by Parliament after public pressure could no longer be contained, and to bring a telegenic fast by Anna Hazare to a fruitful end, cannot be expected to probe and try the corrupt in its own den.

Since scam after scam points towards the collusion of the public and the private sector, with MPs, MLAs and other party members of both the ruling party at the Centre and the principal opposition allegedly involved in the nexus, it is only a brand new and ‘clean’ party such as AAP that can probably start a full-fledged probe and bring the culprits to book. The case in point include not only the Commonwealth Games scam, but also years and years of abusing the Public Welfare Department and the municipal corporations, by legislators, who have looted the government exchequer to increase their personal bank balances. Obviously, the AAP’s manifesto, which states bringing in the Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill within 15 days of coming to power, has to be taken seriously, now that the party has agreed to form the government in the national capital. Once that comes into effect, retrospective investigations into the systematic anomalies perpetrated by previous CMs and MoSs must be conducted, as well as probes into every bureaucrat’s activities which have been remotely suspicious. Keeping in mind the legal limits set by the Constitution, particularly the 2002 norm that requires the state government to make or amend laws after seeking permission from Centre, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP must be innovative to skirt the definite hurdles that the intransigent bureaucracy would keep throwing at its way.

Although there are murmurs in the corridors of Congress, with some of the party members, particularly the Delhi state unit chief Arvinder Singh Lovely and some other in the dock, saying that this would amount to persecution and carrying out of a ‘political vendetta’, nothing could be farther from the truth. The AAP manifesto, for which the CM-designate has sought a two-month deadline for full implementation given the national elections in 2014, is an ambitious one, but perhaps it is not entirely undoable.

Certainly the reason why Arvind Kejriwal, the brain behind the stupendous success of the RTI Act (from getting it passed to using it to various civic-activist ends), has been forwarding an anti-corruption stance from the very beginning, which, mercifully, has not turned into an anti-politics of sort, but a fresh and democratic people’s politics. In this light, the AAP’s agenda, such as the Delhi Jan Lokpal and the time-bound and swift disposal of corruption cases, including those against ministers, MLAs and secretaries, to be completed within one year, could appear to be too much too soon. There are a lot of intermediate steps between the aims and the results, with setting up of fast-track courts to decide on the matters, as well as seeking consonance from the Centre on various issues. Moreover, goals such as swaraj and devolution of power by setting up Moholla Sabhas might work, but they would need keeping up the ‘broomomentum’, as it were. Even if AAP delivers one-third of its manifesto promises, people would continue to have faith in them.
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