Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The prime minister is Out of Coverage Area!


Taking into account the immense progress achieved in the field of corruption all of us are festively debating the formulation of the Lokpal bill. All kinds of fiery discussions are going on at all levels. The idea is to eradicate corruption forever by creating a system called Lokpal. The last hurdle in the discussion is whether to bring the prime minister under the purview of the bill. The heat of the discussions would make one wonder whether the PM is the most corrupt guy in the country.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has made it abundantly clear that he has no objection in bringing the PM under the purview of the law. Still, the apprehension of the other people has not subsided. There's no evidence to suspect that Dr Singh is ignorant of the problems of bringing a PM under this law. 'I have no objection, but many in the cabinet have objections', is what Manmohanji said. But he didn't mention who in his cabinet is more knowledgeable than he himself, who had spent over half a dozen years in the PM's seat.

Moreover, a new school of thought has emerged which thinks that we should heed more the words of people who are to become prime ministers than the words of current or past prime ministers. There's a point, because they are the fellows to suffer the consequences. Hon. Rahulji is the No One in the waiting list of future PMs and he has expressed his view on this arguments. His opinion is not to bring the PM under the law, regardless of whatever Manmohanji has said. The reason? The reason is that if the people start raising allegations against the PM and Lokpal start investigating the PM, he wouldn't have time do his job! That is the reason.

On hearing Rahulji, a few doubts creep up in the minds of common men who are less sagacious than Rahulji in the art of statecraft. Was it because of the absence of Lokpal that not even one allegation was leveled against Dr Manmohan Singh as prime minister ? Many in his cabinet are now loitering in Tihar jail, but no one has pointed a finger at Manmohanji. May be that is the secret of his arrogance when he stated that he does not care a damn if he is brought under the purview of the act. Not all, but most of his predecessors too were of that variety. But, even with out any Lokpal some were roasted live with innumerable allegations of corruption. They were running helter skeltor like monkeys with tails on fire. Many had to face CBI enquiries; one even went up to the gates of the central prisons. Many think that Rajivji could have cleared his name if there were a Lokpal in those days. Only if the six or seven respected persons in the Lokpal think there is a prima facie case in the allegation could an enquiry be instituted against a prime minister. Prime minister is not there in the list of divine personalities in any of the man made constitutions. He is one among the cabinet ministers, all are equal, and some are more equal, that is the only solace the prime minister could indulge in.

Prime minister is not a minister with out portfolio. He has several departments under him and he is the one putting the last signature in all its files. If prime minister is above the Lokpal it means that all departments under him can have their quota of corruption, as they are exempted from the purview of Lokpal. What sort of an anti corruption law is this? CBI can register a case against prime minister, but when a law with more tooth is implemented he is out of its purview! Constitution gives special status only to the President of India, you can't put the PM's feet in President's shoes.

When we think of 'prime ministers', the faces of great leaders like Pandit Nehru, Shastri and Indira comes to our mind (of course Manmohanji's face too will come). But there is no guarantee that future PMs is going to be such gems of personalities. The likes of Jayalalita have their own fancies. She has vehemently demanded that prime ministers must be kept out of nuisances like Lokpal. What if national parties like B.J.P and the Congress end up with lesser number of seats, after the next election? It is a paradox in India, when the first and second fail, the third will emerge victorious. Parties with lesser numbers will come together to elect the prime minister. We had Chandra Sekhar, V.P.Singh , I K Gujral and Deve Gouda as prime ministers. Jayalalitas, Mayavathis, Mulayams and Laloos are not far away.So dear Congressmen, please think twice before pulling the prime minister out of the purview of the Lokpal bill.

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All these national leaders should learn a lot from their Kerala subordinates. Instead of pleading to exclude the prime minister from Lokpal on constitutional and such other fallacies, they should put forward the most relevant social justice ground in this case too. See what has been done to bring a Kerala ruling party politician out of jail-a rule has been promulgated to the effect that nobody above 75 should be jailed in any case. Certainly Balakrishna Pillai is above 75! Why can't this be done in the Lokpal act too? Any prime minister who is 78 year old should not be prosecuted and sentenced to jail for anything, let alone corruption. Even Anna Hazare will not be able to say anything against this. What more justice can be given to the senior citizens of the country? At the centre the age limit can be brought down to 60, so that almost all cabinet ministers can be exempted from Lokpals and such other pals. Oh, the case of Rahulji remains. Can't you insert a special provision in the act exempting sons and daughters of past prime ministers? Then that file too is closed, no cause for any more worry.

Kalmadies, Rajas and Kanimozhies too have to learn a lot from Kerala. May be they might have heard of the mighty politician in Kerala R. Balakrishna Pillai. He was sentenced to jail by the Supreme Court of India in a corruption case. He was sent to jail in February but had remained outside the jail most of the time on one pretext or other. He is a leader of the ruling United Democratic Front and his son is a minister in Kerala. Of the 145 days or so, he was allowed to sleep home for more that 50. Kerala government is going to bestow a favour on these respected senior citizens of Kerala. Let them be convicted in any case, if they are more than 75 years old they need not serve the jail term. Let them stay home and pray god to eradicate corruption.

No court had found Raja/Kalmadi or Kanimozhi guilty. They are all under trial, and innocent until found guilty. But, mind you, they cannot get out of the prison for even an hour. If they are found guilty, like Balakrishna Pillai they could have gone out on endless paroles and could have slept in air conditioned rooms at home. They could have appeared in T V channel discussions and made us aware of the noble principles of political morality.
This is what we call social justice.