Report Card for the ‘Anna Semester’
The enthusiastic ‘Iam Anna Hazare’ chants have died down victoriously with government bowing down to the demands of ‘the people.’ While the authenticity and relevance of such a movement in a democratic nation is debated, it was indeed a litmus test for the trio – Government of India, the main opposition party; BJP and the Media. The analysis given below, shows their lackluster performance when the situation demanded responsible and creative response.
Government of India: 1/10
Eventhough Congress Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi termed it to be win-win situation for democracy and all the stake holders; in reality it showed the failure of the Indian National Congress led UPA Government in all fronts. It is astonishing that a government embroiled in some high profile scams turned a blind eye towards the public ire. Government faltered from the word go with Congress spokespersons making irresponsible remarks like Anna was ‘corrupt from head to toe,’ using rash languages like arm chair fascists, over ground Maoists, closet anarchists, and raking up the age old Sawant Commission report. The image of GOI was further dented with the arrest of Anna Hazare on August 16, 2011 moments before the hunger strike resulting in the shift in focus from ‘Jan Lokpal’ to ‘right to protest.’ The young and appealing leaders of Congress party from Rahul Gandhi to Sachin Pilot hid behind the screens, while the old guns who have justified the corrupt innumerable times came in front of the cameras, resulting in outright rejection from the public. While Rahul Gandhi’s speech in parliament did made sense, it was right ideas delivered at the wrong time, had that come a week before, it would have made some difference. Overall it was a below par performance from the government.
Remark: Bring Mamma back as soon as possible and meet the principal or you will be fired!
Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP): 3/10
The main opposition party BJP gained advantage in the last leg of the race. They shied away holding onto a stand on the LokPal issue till the climax. BJP was focused in condemning each and every action of government when the latter tried all kinds of tricks to contain the mass agitation by Anna Hazare. But BJP kept themselves off from the core issues of Jan LokPal bill. Thus came a situation where senior leaders like Yashwang Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha and Bihar MP Uday Singh threatened to resign expressing the dissatisfaction on BJP stand against corruption. Rightly recognizing this, when Anna asked the opposition parties to make their stand clear, reality struck BJP. There were lone voices against the Jan Lok Pal bill envisoned by Anna Hazare. Even the opposition party had promised support to government in the all party meeting that led government to harden their position. But to gain much needed brownie points BJP president Nithin Gadkari made the statement offering full support for Anna’s bill without going into the details. Arun Jaitley articulated their position well during the debate in Loksabha with the proficiency of a lawyer shrewdly expressing discord yet reiterating the stand that BJP was in full support of the three contentious issues. (It must be remembered that the best lawyers among government men Kapil Sibal and Chidambaram was send off the field!) Thus BJP gained advantage edging out both government and other opposition parites.
Remark: Your dad must meet the Principal, but bring only one dad, too many cooks spoil the broth!!
The India media fell to greater depths with visibly biased reporting of the Anna Hazare fast. The times now channel and newspaper acted as if they were a subsidiary of the NGO, India Against Corruption. The focus was shifted from Aman ki Aasha to Anna ki Aasha. Arnab Gozami, Sagarika Ghose and other little known reporters tried to recreate a Tahrir Square at Ramlila, asking people to like Anna’s movement in facebook, follow in twitter and even send SMS and missed calls. They miserably failed to show the other side of the coin. Why did the media do this? While we await the detailed analysis of Ramlila fast by Anna Hazare, the report by Report by Esha News Service, Broadcast Monitoring and Analysis Service on Anna Hazare’s fast from 3-11 April gives clear indications. On April 8 there was 167 hours of news coverage, worth Rs 30 crore in ad value. Total prime time coverage adds upto 1224 clips, across 152 hours. Intrestingly the Ad value is of Rs 52.47 crore. More interestingly the analysis of tone of gives the following results: negative views: 65, positive views: 5592!!! The reporters at news channels being aware of the fact that majority Indians are bewildered by the number of zeroes in 2G scam and other scams, cleverly joined the public opinion without caring for impartial discussions. Obviously advertisement matters for a media corporation; Nation, Democracy and Constitution comes next! Biased media reporting will spell doom in the long run. Thus they score same as that of Government of India in handling the Anna Hazare fast.
Remark: Exempted from meeting the principal, guaranteed promotion provided the school is featured in Channel/ Newspaper.
The author is on twitter as @jeffshawn