How Rahul struck Kejriwal at the right time on Lokpal

AAP crying hoarse not only broke a verbal fight between them and Team Anna, it also acted to Rahul’s advantage.

When the election results came in the four states, the Congress party was having a hard time defending its darling Rahul Gandhi for the failure that it received in all of them. A major wave of news pieces making mockery of Rahul and his decisions gripped the country. There were talks in the political corridor that now is the time when he should give up his political career.

His party members were being suggested that they should give up their dream of working under the prime ministership of Rahul Baba as it looked like he was no match for Aam Aadmi Party led Arvind Kejriwal who gave a spectacular debute in Delhi, let alone Bhartiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi whose spell is far more powerful to breach.

But it seems it was too early to sign him off.

Came winter session of the parliament with its short duration and constant no-business disruptive days, which gave the Congress a much needed hold on the situations gone berserk. The UPA government had a major task of passing around 38 bills in this winter session, including communal violence bill and Janlokpal Bill, which it hoped will act to its advantage.

While the parliament was constantly being disrupted by UPA’s own allies over Telangana, the opposition was holding the government still on communal violence bill. There was a major threat of no-confidence motion being brought in the parliament by TDP which could have resulted in untimely death of the UPA.

At the same time, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare sat on indefinite fast demanding to pass Lokpal Bill in the parliament. And Rahul was briefing media alongside his mother, UPA chief Sonia Gandhi, after defeat in assembly elections and he promised to surprise us.

And yes, he did.

Catching the whiff of disagreement between Kejriwal and Anna, Rahul set aside communal bill and held an immediate press conference at Congress headquarters. He was joined by key strategists P Chidamaram, Kapil Sibal and Ajay Maken in this conference.

In the conference, Rahul urged all the political parties to help in the passage of Lokpal Bill as it would ensure a ‘clean government’ to the people of the country. He appealed to all political parties to “put aside small little differences” and “get together and finish the job” on what he called “a matter of national importance”.

By this time, Team Anna, including Anna himself, was fine with the ‘new and strengthened’ government’s version of the Lokpal bill. But the ex-Team Anna members, who are now AAP members, were speaking against the ‘sarkari’ draft.

They pointed out that the amended bill delinks setting up of Lokayuktas in states, a highly controversial provision because of which many parties had opposed it in the House in December last year. The new bill also grants powers to ombudsman to sanction prosecution against public servants.

But the AAP lost its support pretty much on the ground that there was a need to pass the bill as soon as possible and that amendments can be brought later too. In fact, the BJP promised support “even without discussion” on the Lokpal Bill to the government for the sole purpose following which the Centre expressed confidence that the legislation will be passed in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

AAP crying hoarse not only broke a verbal fight between them and Team Anna, it also acted to Rahul’s advantage.

The bill, if passed, will add credibility to Rahul’s image and the credit will always go to him whenever the country will talk about the Lokpal Bill. Even Anna will mention that finally Rahul spoke up and united all the political parties on the issue and he will be thanked by all who were rooting for the bill.

In all of this, Kejriwal will lose a major issue which otherwise could have been a big political agenda for him and his party to continue with for a long time. His stalling the Lokpal will be seen in bad light and it will become his undoing.

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