Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is the Congress party serious about fighting corruption?

The Congress party's recent plenary session at Delhi's Burari was dominated by two battle cries, one against the Bharatiya Janata Party and the other against corruption. Obviously, fighting the BJP is a matter of life and death for the Congress and its determination to take the fight to the BJP's camp was genuine. But the same can not be said about the Congress taking on corruption, after all, of late many of its members have been caught with their hands in the till.

However, if the Congress is really serious on this, it can make a start by introducing an effective bill on Lokpal or ombudsman in the next session of Parliament (Here I am presuming that the Opposition will not boycott it on its demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee to go into the Commonwealth games and 2G telecom spectrum scams) acceptable not only to the political parties but also to the civil society, initiate the process for creating law to provide for seizure of public servants' assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, and move to amend the People's Representation Act to debar from fighting elections those against whom a law court has preferred charges. Unless the party takes these three steps very soon its newly found animus against corruption will look like a put on act only to keep up with the Jones.

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