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Their Anna’s worth

columns Updated: Sep 11, 2011 02:22 IST
Karan Thapar
Karan Thapar
Hindustan Times
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‘Don’t you think politicians are sometimes their own worst enemies?’ Pertie has an uncanny knack of asking seemingly innocent questions that hit the nail devastatingly straight on the head. Was this one such, I asked myself? I didn’t have to wait long for the answer.

“In terms of public perception our politicians have been battered and defeated by Team Anna. But rather than gracefully accept the outcome, MPs are busy planning revenge attacks. This is pure vindictiveness and bloody-mindedness. Can’t they see what this is doing to their reputation?”

“Hang on a second,” I said, trying vainly to defend the notices issued to Team Anna or the Delhi Police’s announcement that the Bhushan CD is authentic. “Let’s take them one at a time. The Kejriwal dispute with the income tax department is an old one. The government hasn’t manufactured it.”

“That’s not the point,” Pertie shot back. “It’s the timing. After two years of silence how come they decided to spring into action on August 5, a mere 10 days before Anna’s fast? Do you really believe that’s an innocent and unforeseen coincidence rather than deliberate and punitive action?”

“Why are you so distrustful?” If I recall correctly, that’s also the point Salman Khurshid made a few days earlier.

“Because today you can’t trust politicians. Who does? And let me tell you the tax chaps didn’t do this on their own. They were told to. It isn’t hard to guess who gave the orders. And much the same applies to the claim that the Delhi Police have authenticated the Bhushan CD. They were simply ordered to say so. It’s as simple as that.”

“All right,” I said beating a quick retreat. “Perhaps you’re right. But you can’t blame the government for the breach of privilege notices sent to Kejriwal, Bhushan and Bedi. That’s the work of independent MPs.”

“I seriously question that claim but that’s hardly the key point.” Pertie’s belligerence was unmistakeable. His manner revealed just how disgusted he was. “What this shows is the attitude of our MPs and their pomposity — or is it their self-deluding pretensions of dignity?”

“Wow!” The exclamation escaped my lips before I could check myself. I wasn’t mocking Pertie. Just genuinely amazed at his sweeping conclusions.

“First of all, don’t they have a sense of humour? Can’t they laugh at themselves? Kiran Bedi’s satire may not have been particularly clever but all of us have a right to lampoon and that’s all she was doing.” Sensing he wasn’t finished, I kept silent. It’s always better to let a storm subside than recklessly confront its furious winds.

“And second, who doesn’t say MPs or ministers are liars and cheats? Who doesn’t believe many of them take bribes? What was 2G, CWG and Adarsh all about?” “No doubt” I said, trying to pacify him. “But are such allegations becoming? Shouldn’t our public discourse be more elevated and less accusatory?”

“The privilege notices aren’t complaining about inelegant language. The MPs are claiming their dignity is affronted. But can the truth — even if spoken harshly or rudely — offend anyone’s dignity? And remember tens, if not hundreds, of millions believe this is the truth. It’s time MPs recognise themselves in the way we see them!”

“So how does this make politicians their own worst enemies?”

“Because they’re further undermining their already diminished credibility. Because they’re adding anger to the disgust we already feel. And at every stage, they’re boosting the image of Team Anna!”

The views expressed by the author are personal

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