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Digressions, digressions

With political mudslinging showing no signs of abating, is there any hope for the Lokpal Bill?

india Updated: Apr 22, 2011 21:52 IST

The drafting of the Jan Lokpal Bill by civil society members has come to resemble Agatha Christie's novel Ten Little Niggers. In the iconic book, the dramatis personae, who are trapped on an island for a seemingly perfect break, find that each is dropping dead, until the final denouement reveals the killer. Now this may be an exaggeration in the case of the Lokpal Bill, but the original plot in which corruption was to be highlighted has swiftly been forgotten given the plots and sub-plots that have emerged. The properties of lawyer father and son Bhushan has engaged us many a day as also the antics of the former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh who always has a surprise or two up his sleeve. The main issue has now shifted to a CD that apparently casts doubts on the role of the two members of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee.

Just when you thought that the culprit may be the doughty Amar Singh, in jumps a leading worthy of the Congress, Digvijaya Singh, who has expressed doubts on the Bhushans' objections to the tape being fake. He then links

their trashing of the CD to be in the same nature as the handing over of the 2G investigation to the accused himself, disgraced former telecom minister A Raja. And the plot gets murkier. Another panel member, the renowned jurist Santosh Hegde has voiced his anguish against the remarks made by

Mr Singh. We don't blame you for being at sea with all these allegations flying back and forth. Of course, nothing excites public opinion as much as land being allotted out of turn to public personalities, and here the Bhushans have added a bit of spice to this plot — or plots as the case may be.

Any hope that help will come via a Hercule Poirot-like figure at the last minute to solve the whole puzzle has been firmly put to rest with the Congress president and National Advisory Council chief Sonia Gandhi distancing herself from any 'smear campaign'. One thing is clear: like in the Agatha Christie novel, everyone has now begun to doubt the other's motives. The activists feel that the government may be working to derail the draft Bill; the political establishment seems to suggest that the activists are not quite above board as initially thought. And worse, Anna Hazare, the central character in this whole drama, has been reduced to being part of the backdrop. In the novel referred to above, the only saving grace was that at least there was a definitive conclusion to the whole tragic farce. In the Lokpal Bill case, it would seem that no such resolution seems possible at the moment. Otherwise, it would be a case of 'then there were none' as everyone in the novel seems to fade away from the scene, though there is the shocker ending. Can we hope for that in this case?