Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Congress sees dividends in tough line Centre working on strong response to SC notice on crackdown
SANJAY K. JHA
New Delhi, June 7: The Congress leadership is convinced that its tough stand on Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare has yielded instant political dividends and that even marginal success in portraying them as part of the RSS’s destabilising game would help it significantly in the future.
Sources said Sonia Gandhi backed the tough line and asked the government to focus on governance and delivery instead of getting bogged down in perpetual fire-fighting.
Sonia, in fact, expressed unhappiness at the government’s reluctance to act firmly in adverse circumstances and for allowing an impression of drift to gain ground for such a long time. “There is no question of giving in to abnormal pressures now. Nobody should take our readiness to accommodate as our weakness,” a senior cabinet minister told The Telegraph.
There is a sense of alarm at different levels in the party because of an impression that the post-midnight eviction of Ramdev and his followers had not been appreciated by common people.
Sources said many senior leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, were worried about the long-term fallout but the key players in the government convinced them that the situation would change for the better in the coming months. They contended that giving in to pressure would have irreparably undermined the government’s authority.
While government sources are hoping that the “new crop of protesters” would dissipate if they find the going tough, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said: “Although the basic nature of this government was liberal, these groups had misused the generosity shown to them.”
The party, however, wants the government to strengthen the legal framework against corruption and take the promised measures irrespective of the involvement of the civil society.
The sources revealed the government was preparing a strong response to the Supreme Court notice on the operation at the Ramlila ground. Justifying its decision to act without losing time, the government will reveal that credible intelligence inputs were available on the possibility of a law and order breakdown, including a terror strike.
The government also plans to present visual evidence to counter the propaganda of police brutality and the comparisons to the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre.
The party continued its propaganda about the RSS designs to create anarchy in the country for the third consecutive day.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said: “There were four reasons for this unstable political scenario in the country. One, the nervousness of the RSS about the terror links and the role of its cadres in the Samjhauta train blast; two, mounting evidence against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi; three, desperation of the permanent PM-in-waiting L.K. Advani; and four, the Left anarchism.”
Asserting that the government will not allow instability at any cost, the Congress spokesperson said the RSS was working on a plan to unite the communal elements by bringing Uma Bharti, Sadhvi Rithambara and Ramdev on one platform.
Asked why the government was negotiating with Ramdev if he was only a “mask” of the RSS, Tiwari said: “At times, you have to tell the mask that it is playing in dangerous hands. And the government also wanted to tell him that it was already working on laws and a plan to unearth black money.”
Tiwari described the Anna Hazare group as a curious mix of “ignorance and arrogance”. He said the attitude that “accept our conditions or we hit back” was dangerous and betrayed a poor sense of democratic culture. “My way or high way. Is this democracy?” he asked, hinting that the so-called civil society group was trying to bring in a culture of “might is right”.
One senior general secretary questioned the locus standi of the Hazare group and said: “The 200 television channels that chase them have made them so big. Remove the cameras and then judge their worth and their mass following.”
Asked if the party was concerned about Hazare’s fast tomorrow, Congress leaders said the phase to worry was over and the time had come for the party to confront them and expose them before the people.