Weak government attracts strong troubles

A weak government with string of scandals attract strong troubles. this is clearly evident from the everyday happenings in the UPA government. Baba Ramdev who commands lakhs of followers through his yoga teachings and marketing strategies is the latest personality who challenged the weak kneed UPA. Coalition partners, opposition members, underworld dons, naxalities, external threats and other innumberable troubles keep attacking the government at the centre. Its inept handling is compounding the existing crisis. May be the UPA feels great after putting off Ramdev’s fast at the Ramlila grounds at Delhi. But actually it is weakening its position day by day.

The Deccan Chronicle writes on 6th June 2011

After both sides struck an initial stance of reasonableness, the government reckoned that yoga guru Ramdev was probably disinclined to end his protest campaign at Delhi’s Ramlila Grounds, although he had agreed to do so in a letter submitted the previous day to the government ministers negotiating with him.

Sensing that the Ramdev movement had, in effect, been organised by the RSS, and then finding arch communal troublemaker Sadhvi Rithambara, known for spewing venom against the minorities, was sharing the Ramlila Ground stage with the yoga teacher, it was expected that concern and alarm would follow in official circles, not to say among a broad swathe of public opinion.

The eviction of the saffron-wrapped yoga teacher and his followers by the Delhi police from the Ramlila Grounds past midnight on Saturday thus occasions little surprise. It transpires that Baba Ramdev had sought official permission to hold a “yoga camp” there but instead he nourished a political jamboree seeking to instigate people against the government. This was unfortunate.

Baba Ramdev had told followers that 90 per cent of his demands had already been met. Some of the issues raised by the yoga guru are indeed reasonable. The corruption question finds an echo among all sections of citizens.

It is beyond considerations of party politics and ideology. The Centre, for instance, can without delay clear legislation — one of Ramdev’s key demands — intended to provide relief to ordinary people against petty harassment and bribe-extraction at service delivery points, for instance when picking up a ration card, a driving licence, a water connection or a death certificate.

When governments don’t take care of such basic needs of citizens, they lay themselves open to the charge of imperviousness, and typically fire middle and lower middle class angst, which generally drives protests in urban India.

Worse, in such situations, an absence of governmental initiative makes possible large-scale mobilisation of disgruntled elements — as we saw in the case of Ramdev and Anna Hazare. Such collectives can be exploited to irresponsible ends by demagogues of any hue — from Naxalites on the far left to the communal far right.

Popular concern and frustration with the official machinery has been exacerbated by instances of corruption in high places that have come to light in the last eight or nine months, detracting from the government’s moral authority. Even so, it would be foolish and dangerous if society permitted half-baked ideas of demagogues to take hold, and permit such elements an opportunity to overrun the system.

It cannot be overemphasised that, in particular, the issue of repatriation of black money in foreign tax havens is complex and not amenable to overnight solutions as it presupposes negotiations with foreign governments. The idea of declaring all Indian black money overseas a national asset is even more complicated.

After the police action at Ramlila Grounds, it is a pity that a national party like the BJP lost perspective and begun comparing it with the Emergency. It would be useful to remember that if it were indeed the Emergency once again, the party would not be free to belt out anti-government messages from the podium of its national executive in Lucknow.

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